Page speaks after firing of St. Louis County official indicted for allege COVID-19 scam
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV) - During a press briefing, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page talked about the recent firing and indictment of a St. Louis County jail official.
Anthony “Tony” Weaver Sr. was indicted on May 25, on four felony counts of wire fraud. Appointed by Page, Weaver was a county jail official who acted as a communication link between families, inmates, and correction officers. He was fired from his position Tuesday.
The indictment alleged that Weaver approached a man, identified as John Smith, who owned several small businesses in St. Louis County with a plan to fraudulently apply for grants from the Small Business Relief Program (SBR) in exchange for a share of the proceeds in May 2020. Applications for four SBR loans that falsely claimed Smith’s businesses were closed during the pandemic were filled out by Weaver, the indictment said. It also concealed the fact that Smith had at least 25% ownership in all the businesses which contradicted the guideline that one owner could apply for one grant. It also outlined several of the duo’s conversations about splitting the money while discussing ways to avoid getting caught.
“The attempt to defraud [St. Louis] County government failed and no funds were lost or inappropriately awarded,” Page said while touching on the incident.
The announcement of Weave’s indictment comes less than a week after three St. Louis City alderman were indicted on corruption charges. When asked how the public can trust the government, Page cites several safeguards his administration implemented including hiring two accounting firms. The firms check the applications and supporting documents submitted for several loans.
“We have a lot of processes and procedures in place. If funds were awarded improperly, we’ll certainly find it,” he continued.
The wire fraud charge that Weaver face carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
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