Five people, including three JetBlue employees, have been arrested for stealing over $1 million in COVID-19 relief funds.
On Thursday, authorities apprehended 39-year-old Orlando Sanay, 40-year-old Michael Pimentel Veloz, 20-year-old Fanny Plasencia, and 41-year-old twin brothers Keimi Nuñez and Keily Nuñez of Queens, New York. According to prosecutors, these five reportedly stole $1,006,000 by fraudulently applying for Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
The Nuñez brothers and Sanay, from New Jersey, were employed by JetBlue when they applied for the loans. Between April and August of 2020, the defendants allegedly requested EIDL funds for eight separate companies. The men falsely stated the number of employees in the companies and lied about the year’s gross revenue before the pandemic.
On one application, Nunez and Sanay stated that Sanay was the owner and chief executive officer of “Sanay Venture Capital LLC.” They wrongly claimed that they had 26 employees and $839,000 in gross revenue. The two then boldly submitted the loan application from the JetBlue Airways IP address. The loan was ultimately approved, and $139,400 was wired to Sanay’s personal bank account. There is no evidence to suggest that the funds were used for business expenses. Nunez is no longer working for JetBlue. It remains unclear if the remaining fraudsters are still with the company.
“JetBlue is cooperating fully with law enforcement in this matter,” a spokesman stated.
All the defendants are facing up to 20 years behind bars.