GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man tried to obtain about $1.5 million in coronavirus relief funds by filing false loan applications and by stealing the identifies of elderly victims, federal prosecutors said.

A federal grand jury in Gainesville returned an indictment Tuesday for Jeremie Saintvil, of Delray Beach, according to court records. He was charged with bank fraud, making false statements to a federally insured institution, aggravated identity theft and making false statements..

According to the indictment, Saintvil submitted nine fraudulent loan applications last year to nine different federally insured credit unions and banks on behalf of businesses that did not exist. Saintvil falsified his identity and lied about the number of employees and payroll expenses of the non-existent companies, prosecutors said. Saintvil also opened accounts under the names of eight elderly victims in order to transfer the fraudulently obtained funds, officials said.

Online court records didn't list an attorney for Saintvil.

The Paycheck Protection Program represents billions of dollars in forgivable small business loans for Americans struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's part of the coronavirus relief package that became federal law last March.

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