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Fake Orlando Ministry Receives $8.4 Million in PPP Loans, Attempts to Purchase House in Golden Oak at Walt Disney World

In what is likely one of the weirdest criminal cases to tie into Walt Disney World this year—probably right up there with the guest who brought an AR-15 rifle which had to be stored at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and the VH1 celebrity that punched a Cast Member—another case of post-pandemic PPP loan fraud has surfaced, linking a fake Orlando ministry with an attempted home purchase at Golden Oak, the upscale residential community within the Walt Disney World Resort.

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A fascinating report by Gabrielle Russon of the Orlando Sentinel details the incident from the fake PPP loan filing to the epic shredded-paper finale. With the launch of the CARES Act, millions of dollars in loans have been issued to small businesses (like the former owners of the Morocco Pavilion at EPCOT) and non-profits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those that filed was ASLAN International Ministry, headed by Evan and Joshua Edwards. ASLAN ended up receiving $8.4 million in loans after painting a picture of a successful Orlando-based ministry.

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Once received, the money was then wired into an account at First Home Bank—one which previously only held a balance of $25. It was then divvied up amongst multiple bank accounts held by various members of the Edwards family. Records show that $3.71 million went towards a house in the Symphony Grove neighborhood of Disney’s Golden Oak.

What ultimately tipped off the authorities was a cover letter from an accountant filed alongside ASLAN’s IRS forms. The cover letter not only listed the same address for the accounting firm as ASLAN, but was also signed by a mute man with dementia who hadn’t done accounting for ASLAN since 2017. The address for ASLAN headquarters turned out to be empty office space.

The Edwards family was ultimately caught speeding on I-75 near Lake City, Florida. Inside the car were bags of shredded documents, as well as a paper shredder and laser printer.

According to the Sentinel, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida declined comment based on the fact that they cannot confirm or deny investigations until criminal charges are filed. The federal government has since seized the $8.4 million PPP loan funds on the basis of bank fraud and money laundering.

Source: Orlando Sentinel

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Brian
Brian
9 months ago

Even if you managed to get into Golden Oaks they’d be kicked out in a year when dues and property taxes come due.

Brai
Brai
9 months ago

The new American dream

Lelo
Lelo
9 months ago

Wowza. Glad they were busted, hope that money can go to real businesses who could actually use it.

Rebecca
Rebecca
9 months ago

Why are they giving money to churches in the first place? It shouldn’t be a business and they don’t pay taxes….

Dee
Dee
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

Apparently they weren’t non-denominational. 😆

Whannaknow
Whannaknow
9 months ago

Why would a church need that kind of money to buy a house? Don’t they normally guilt their worshipers into paying for that. Most normal people don’t even qualify for loans but they give millions to churches?