Udonis Haslem’s Sister Charged With COVID Loan Fraud

There has been a steadily increasing number of South Florida police department personnel implicated in defrauding COVID-19- related government relief programs over the last two years. These allegations involve individuals from departments in various regions including Miami and Coral Springs. Among the accused is Sheana Haslem, an employee of the Miami Police Department and sister of the retired basketball player Udonis Haslem.

Sheana Haslem, who works as a staffing specialist, is suspected of submitting false applications to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program during 2020 and 2021. According to the charge sheet, she received almost $31,000 through this scam.

Prosecutors believe that with assistance from an unidentified person, Haslem sent an untruthful EIDL application where she declared herself as an independent contractor and owner of a profitable hair and nail salon. She falsely claimed in her application that the business had 15 employees and had attained a gross revenue of almost $90,000 from January 31, 2019, to January 31, 2020.

After her EIDL application, Haslem allegedly submitted a fraudulent application for a PPP loan meant for her purported security officer business. She is also accused of falsely claiming that her monthly payroll expense for this endeavor was $8,333, supported with a fabricated IRS Form 1040 (Schedule C) for 2019 indicating a gross income of $102,874, no expenses, and a corresponding net profit.

From this falsified scheme, Haslem received nearly $21,000 in PPP loan money from an unidentified lender. She now faces a charge of wire fraud, an offense with a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March 2020, resulted in the Paycheck Protection Program, intended to dispense forgivable loans to businesses hit by the pandemic. It also enabled the Small Business Administration to provide EIDL assistance to eligible small businesses adversely impacted due to COVID-related lockdowns and closures.

Florida was identified as a hub for deceitful COVID-19 loan activities. In September 2022, the Department of Justice disclosed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida would spearhead one of three nationwide “COVID-19 fraud strike force teams.”

Over the period, South Florida federal prosecutors had recovered more than $23.5 million in defrauded relief funds and prosecuted people involved in over 80 cases. Workers in law enforcement and associated departments have often been involved in these COVID-19 relief fraud cases in South Florida.

Previous incidents include a former Coral Springs police officer pleading guilty to Economic Injury Disaster Loan program fraud in October 2022, and a retired Miami police officer admitting to felony wire fraud in April 2023 for submitting dishonest documents to benefit from COVID-19 relief assistance. Additionally, there were federal fraud charges against 17 Broward Sheriff’s Office employees implicated in separate fraud schemes. Moreover, a former BSO jail lieutenant was charged with wire fraud counts after he allegedly illegally acquired almost $168,000 in PPP loans last week.

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