NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Federal prosecutors allege that a Newport News man was using his business as a way to get COVID-19 relief funds.
Forty-one-year-old Leon Teekah is the owner of MediPro Corporation, a medical sales business based in Newport News that began in 2018.
Federal documents state that in May 2020, two men allegedly asked Teekah for his assistance in wiring money for their “purported business, which they described as a business that manufactured steel tubes in Sri Lanka.”
They say Teekah agreed to use his company as a domestic representative of this foreign company and received wire transfers from customers.
Records go on to say at the direction of the two men, he allegedly began to receive and forward wire transfers of U.S. money.
Federal prosecutors allege that the purpose of the conspiracy was to commit money laundering to obtain money from a complex fraud scheme targeting government benefits like unemployment compensation, tax refunds and expanded benefits for people and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
They said that it was part of the scheme that they would submit fraudulent claims for benefits from the federal government and several states including Washington, Massachusetts, Colorado and Arizona.
Court documents say that “these employment funds were wired to Teekah’s business because a co-conspirator submitted a false claim from these states.”
They accuse the defendant of keeping a portion of the proceeds for himself and said he used them to pay for personal expenses like a vehicle loan, investments and personal credit card debt.
Records state that between June and July 2020, Teekah was wired over $23,800 in unemployment benefits from Colorado and Arizona and sent these fraud proceeds as directed by his co-conspirators.
They allegedly received wire transfers totaling about $174,400. The government recovered $14,500 of the fraud proceeds, but Teekah and his co-conspirators made away with the remainder of the money, according to court records.
Teekah’s attorney said he no comment about the charges.