Feds Accuse Doctor, Wife of Defrauding COVID-19 Relief Programs to Invest in Cryptocurrency

News | May 28, 2024 By:

On Friday, May 17, 2024, the United States government filed a motion in limine in the case of United States v. Kofi Sarfo and Rose Sarfo in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada.

Kofi Sarfo, a medical doctor, and his wife Rose Sarfo, the office manager of Vista Medical Associates, are accused of fraudulently obtaining loans from the Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 relief programs including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

The government alleges that between February and November 2021, the defendants defrauded the programs out of over $1.3 million total by submitting false statements in loan applications for Kofi Sarfo’s medical practice Vista Medical Associates. Prosecutors allege the defendants falsely claimed the loans would be used for business expenses but instead purchased stocks, enrolled their children in private colleges, and acquired cryptocurrency.

In its motions, the prosecution sought several rulings from the court ahead of the upcoming trial. It asked the court to preclude any evidence from the defense about an intent to repay the loans or that partial repayments have already been made. The government argued this is not a valid defense to the wire fraud charges, and several appellate courts have rejected such “repayment defenses.”

The motions also requested a preliminary finding that certain records in the case are self-authenticating under the business records exception to the hearsay rule. These included financial records from American Express, Bank of America, educational institutions and mortgage companies. Certifications were provided for these records to lay the foundation for their admission without requiring numerous record custodian witnesses.

Recordings of statements made by the defendants to law enforcement were also addressed. Rose Sarfo’s responses during an undercover call with an FBI agent posing as an SBA representative were argued to not implicate the Confrontation Clause, since she did not know it was for investigative purposes. Portions of interviews Kofi Sarfo participated in were likewise claimed to not directly or facially incriminate his wife.

In its motion, the government further asked the court to preclude the defense from presenting irrelevant evidence about the circumstances of the defendants’ arrest or attempting to garner improper jury sympathy. It also sought exclusion of any “victim negligence” claims trying to shift blame to the lenders.

With over $1.3 million in loans at issue involving claims of stock, cryptocurrency, and tuition payment diversions, this high-profile fraud prosecution will continue unfolding in federal court.

Please contact BlockTribune for access to a copy of this filing.