Jason Lary, the Mayor of Stonecrest, Georgia, was arrested and arraigned on federal charges of wire fraud related to the theft of federal PPP relief funds.
Lania Boone, a bookkeeper hired by the city to disburse the funds, was also arraigned on federal charges of conspiring with Lary to steal PPP funds.
The funds were provided to the city of Stonecrest to address the city’s economic needs amid the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
A total of $6 million was allocated to Stonecrest for face masks, Covid-19 education and testing, and rent relief.
The funds were distributed to churches, non-profit organizations and small businesses along with instructions to give contributions to entities Lary controlled.
For example, Lary presented a check for $150,000 to one church with instructions to give $50,000 to an entity called Real Estate Management Consultants, LLC (REMC).
Lary allegedly didn’t tell the church that he controlled REMC.
Lary reportedly diverted funds to his own bank accounts to pay his taxes and to pay off the mortgage on his lakefront home.
“Lary allegedly abused the power and trust conferred on him as Mayor of Stonecrest to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars intended for COVID-19 relief,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “Instead of providing aid to Stonecrest’s deserving citizens, Lary allegedly diverted funds for his own use, including to pay off his taxes and the mortgage on his lakefront home.”