Minneapolis, MN (KROC-AM News) - Two Minnesota business consultants have been indicted on federal charges alleging they participated in COVID pandemic aid related fraud.

The US Attorney for Minnesota says Tezzaree El-Amin Champion and Marcus Alexander Hamilton, who are both 27 years old, allegedly used their company to carry out a fraud scheme to obtain more than $1 million from a variety of federal, state, local, and private COVID relief programs. The charges say the scheme involved submitting fraudulent applications for PPP loans, pandemic relief, and other funds on behalf of small business clients.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when small businesses were suffering deep economic losses, local and federal government agencies stepped in to provide support. These defendants saw this as an opportunity to defraud the aid programs by submitting phony invoices and applications for benefits,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger. “I commend the skilled investigators and prosecutors who work diligently to hold accountable those who defraud the aid programs designed to support our small business community.”

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A news release says the pair entered into contracts with Hennepin County to provide local small businesses with no-cost marketing and website assistance. It's alleged that instead of abiding by the terms of their contracts, they billed Hennepin County for work that had not been actually performed, and for work that they had been paid for by their clients.


Federal prosecutors say Champion and Hamilton, through their company Futuristic Management Group, submitted more than 100 fraudulent invoices, along with grant and loan applications. They each face three counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, one count of theft of government money, and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in property derived from specific unlawful activity.


In addition, Champion was charged with one count of illegal possession of a firearm as a felon. The news release says a revolver was found in his home during the execution of a search warrant last year. Because he has a prior felony conviction, Champion is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Both men were arraigned on the charges today at the Federal Courthouse in Minneapolis.

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Gallery Credit: Tara Holley

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