Family Ministry Tried To Use COVID-19 PPP Loan To By $3.7 Million Home at Disney’s Golden Oak
A family-run ministry based in Florida is finding itself in hot water. According to a recent piece in The Daily Mail, the ministry obtained $8.4 million in pandemic-relief loans which they were trying to use to by a luxury estate in Disney’s sought after Golden Oak development.
According to the report, the family managed to flee to Canada in an attempt to escape authorities.
The ministry in question was ASLAN International Ministry out of Orlando. According to reports, the organization used false documents to apply for funds under the Paycheck Protection Program back in April. The loan was available as part of the CARES ACT approved by Congress earlier this year and is intended to provide relief for small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.
Upon further investigation, authorities began to uncover the ASLAN scam determining that they weren’t a legitimate religious organization. Instead, the family had distributed millions of dollars obtained from the PPP into different bank accounts. This is according to a recent report in the Orlando Sentinel.
A federal court filing was revealed on Monday in which it was revealed that VP of ASLAN Joshua Edwards applied for a $6.91 million loan. During the application process Edwards used documents to paint the church as a successful organization with over $51 million in revenue last year. The application for the loan went on to state that ASLAN had 486 people on a payroll equaling a monthly cost of $2.76 million in salaries. Documents were submitted by ASLAN’s accountant.
According to records ASLAN was being operated as a family-run non-profit ‘foreign ministry.) Evan Edwards was Chairman and President, son Josh was VP and daughter Joy was secretary. Edwards wife Mary Jane was also listed in the court documents.
The family’s loan was approved to the tune of $8.4 million. Secret Service agents found that the money was placed into accounts belonging to Joshua, Joy and Evan.
The family then tried to conceal the source and location of the funds by moving them through numerous bank accounts according to prosecutors. The US government has already seized more than $5.6 million from one, $1.8 million from another and eventually an additional $866.250 from a third.
Prosecutors allege that the family was planning on using $3.71 million of the funds to purchase a home at Disney’s luxury Golden Oak development. Secret Service visited the location but found no one there. Back in September they obtained a search warrant to try and located the family. They also had a home in New Smyrna Beach but when secret service arrived the house had been cleared out and it looked like the family had fled.
Investigators believed that the Edwards family fled after learning that investigators were on to them. They family was eventually caught speeding on I-75 in Florida where they were pulled over for speeding. At that time shredded documents, suitcases, laptops and tablets were found in the Edwards Family’s possession
Further investigation would also show the family’s church was not a legitimate organization. The ministry was apparently founded in 2005 in Ohio but in 2018 applied to conduct business as a foreign non-profit organization. The family had also applied for COVID assistance in Canada where they were given $2000 each. Authorities believe that the family is in Canada where they are also under investigation.
No official charges have been filed against the family but this is a story that we’ll be following closely so keep checking in with us for further news and updates.
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