Real estate developer faces federal charges for COVID loan fraud

A federal grand jury in Portland has returned an indictment charging a real estate developer with fraudulently obtaining COVID-relief program funds and laundering a portion of its proceeds, a statement from the US Attorney’s Office, District of Oregon revealed.

Michael James DeFrees, a 60-year-old resident of Vancouver, Washington and Lake Havasu, Arizona, was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering.

According to the indictment, DeFrees allegedly used two business entities to illegally obtain, under false pretenses, Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) between April 02, 2020, and April 04, 2022.