Panama City, FL –
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – A group of local people have stolen money meant to help people trying to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, Bay County Sheriff investigators said Friday.
Eric Bernard Betties, 49, of Panama City, was arrested on charges of fraud after an investigation that began in November.
Investigators said several fraudulent requests for rental assistance from the CARES Act funding were sent to a non-profit agency acting on behalf of Bay County. The forms indicated that three separate tenants owed their landlord, Eric Betties, rent.
Betties received checks for $ 1,875, $ 2,250 and $ 3,150 in the mail and they were all cashed for the full amount. Investigators said Betties had three co-conspirators in the case, Renatta Mathis, 40, of Panama City is accused of a fraud scheme. Mary Beach, 34, of Panama City, is charged with robbery. Antoinette Dawson, 36, of Callaway, is charged with robbery.
County officials found that Betties did not own any of the homes claimed in the applications.
The three women claimed they were behind on rent due to COVID-19, investigators said. But their lies were uncovered during an audit by the Bay County Budget Office and the Bay County Comptroller, investigators added.
“We appreciate the hard work of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office as it continues to rout those who have benefited from programs meant to benefit those most suffering during the pandemic,” the county manager said. de Bay, Bob Majka.
Panama City group charged with defrauding taxpayers in COVID-19 scheme Source link Panama City group charged with defrauding taxpayers in COVID-19 scheme