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November 16, 2023Kansas City, MO, United StatesFinancial Crimes, Covid-19, Document and Benefit Fraud

Missouri business owner indicted for CARES Act fraud scheme, following a HSI Kansas City probe

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Lee’s Summit business owner has been indicted by a federal grand jury for spending more than $900,000 in federal COVID-19 business relief funds on personal real estate purchases and a Chevrolet Camaro, following a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Kansas City probe.

Sammy Adam Joseph, 47, was charged in an eight-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Missouri, on Wednesday, Nov. 8. That indictment was unsealed and made public Nov. 14 upon his arrest and initial court appearance.

Joseph remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing, which has not yet been scheduled. According to the government’s motion for detention, Joseph is a flight risk because he owns a condominium in Lebanon and has traveled to Lebanon three times this year. Joseph also poses a risk to the community because he has been identified in social media photos with assault weapons.

Joseph is the owner of Adams & Joseph, Inc., which operates two gas stations in the Kansas City metropolitan area. According to the indictment, his business received nearly $1.9 million under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The purpose of the CARES Act was to provide emergency financial assistance due to the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act authorized the Small Business Administration to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans to eligible small businesses that experienced substantial financial disruption due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the indictment, Adams & Joseph received a total of $1,869,900 in EIDL disbursements between June 2020 and November 2021.

The indictment alleges that Joseph fraudulently used at least $900,000 of the EIDL proceeds for his own personal benefit by using EIDL money to purchase a residence in Lee’s Summit, parcels of land in Kansas City, and Lee’s Summit, a building in Grandview, Missouri, and a blue 2019 Chevrolet Camaro.

Joseph is charged with six counts of theft of government property, which are related to EIDL proceeds he allegedly spent on unauthorized purchases. Joseph is charged with two counts of money laundering, which are related to monetary transactions of criminally derived property.

The indictment also contains forfeiture allegations, which would require Joseph to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses, including a money judgment of at least $948,120 and three parcels of real estate in Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, and Grandview.

The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations Kansas City.

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee Task Force was established to promote transparency and facilitate coordinated oversight of the federal government’s COVID-19 pandemic response. The PRAC’s 20 member Inspectors General identify major risks that cross program and agency boundaries to detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in the more than $5 trillion in COVID-19 spending, including spending via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. This case was also supported by the PRAC’s Pandemic Analytics Center of Excellence, which applies the latest advances in analytic and forensic technologies to help OIGs and law enforcement pursue data-driven pandemic relief fraud investigations.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Learn more about our mission to combat fraud and financial crimes in the community on X, formerly known as Twitter, @HSIKansasCity.

Updated: 11/16/2023