Udonis Haslem’s Sister Charged With COVID Loan Fraud

In the past two years, numerous South Florida law enforcement officials have faced allegations of scamming pandemic relief funds. This list, which ranges from Miami to Coral Springs, includes both current employees and ex-staff. The latest to join this list of accused is Sheana Haslem, sister of retired NBA icon, Udonis Haslem, who played for Miami Heat. It is claimed that she, as a recruitment specialist of the Miami Police Department, submitted dishonest claims to relief schemes namely, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) in 2020 and 2021.

Prosecutors say Haslem received nearly $31,000 through these schemes, assisted by an “anonymous individual.” Allegedly, she sent a bogus EIDL application, stating she was a self-employed individual and owner of a successful beauty salon business. It is said that she falsely claimed the business had 15 employed staff and had a gross income of almost $90,000 between January 31, 2019, and January 31, 2020.

She is then accused of fraudulently applying for a PPP loan for a security officer firm, misrepresenting her average monthly payroll as $8,333 and submitting an IRS Form 1040 (Schedule C) for 2019. This form is alleged to include false information about Haslem’s business income stating no expenses and a net profit of $102,874. From this alleged scheme, Haslem is said to have received almost $21,000 in PPP loan funds from an unmentioned lender. She faces a charge of wire fraud, with a potential penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

The PPP was introduced in March 2020 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, aimed at helping businesses affected by the pandemic, while the EIDL program provided non-repayable advances of up to $10,000 to qualifying small businesses.

Florida saw a significant amount of fraudulent COVID-19 loan activity, leading to the Department of Justice establishing one of three national “COVID-19 fraud strike force teams” in the Southern District of Florida. To date, more than $23.5 million in illegally obtained relief funds have been seized and over 80 cases have been brought to trial by South Florida federal prosecutors.

Various law enforcement officers and police department staff have been implicated in numerous alleged pandemic relief fraud cases. For instance, an ex-Coral Springs law enforcement officer pled guilty to EIDL program fraud in October 2022, followed by a former Miami police officer admitting to wire fraud in April 2023. In a significant bust, federal fraud charges were brought against 17 Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) employees for allegedly defrauding relief programs. Additionally, just last week, a former BSO prison lieutenant was charged with two counts of wire fraud after being accused of dishonestly obtaining close to $168,000 in PPP loans.