Manhattan Man Charged With COVID-19 Fund Fraud

A Manhattan man has been charged with defrauding a Wichita bank out of $127,100 in COVID-19 aid meant for small businesses affected by the pandemic.

Clifford Townsend is accused of claiming on an application for Paycheck Protection Program money that his business had 15 employees.

The business, Global Network Corporation, had no employees, federal prosecutors said.

Townsend was charged with two counts of bank fraud, two counts of making a false statement to a federally insured bank, and two counts of money laundering, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Each bank fraud and false statement charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

The money laundering charges have maximum penalties of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

Prosecutors allege Townsend used about $27,000 of the money to buy a BMW, and wired $80,000 into a brokerage account in the name of the business.

His initial court appearance is scheduled for Monday.