Tag Archives: mailer

Feds Charge Dale Holness’ Campaign Guru With Conspiracy To Commit Bank Fraud & Wire Fraud To Fraudulently Obtain PPP Loan

Omar Smith

Federal prosecutors charged Omar Miguel Smith with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud to fraudulently obtain a PPP Covid-19 relief loan on Monday. Smith is former Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness’ campaign guru. In 2020, REDBROWARD was first to expose Smith’s controversial $300,000 PPP loan for his marketing company A Star For I.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, on his application for a $212,500 forgivable, federally-guaranteed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan on behalf of A Star For I, Inc., “Smith claimed in the on-line loan application, and through supporting fraudulent payroll tax forms, that his company employed 30 people and spent an average of $85,000 each month on payroll. In fact, A Star For I, Inc had zero employees and no payroll expenses.” A Utah bank approved A Star For I, Inc.’s PPP loan application “based on the lies and wired $212,500 to the company’s bank account in Florida.”

Prosecutors alleged that after the money was deposited in July 2020, Omar Smith “spent the next few months creating a paper trail to make it appear as if A Star For I, Inc. in fact had employees and was spending the PPP money on legitimate, approved expenses.” According to the information, Smith issued checks from the company bank account made out to others who did little or no work for his company.

The U.S. Attorney charged Omar Smith with conspiring to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. If convicted, Smith faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

Last month, Damara Holness, daughter of Dale Holness, started a lengthy prison sentence in Mariana, Florida for PPP loan fraud. Like Smith, Damara Holness was accused of making up employees and writing checks to accomplices to hide her fraud. According to authorities, Holness never returned more than $180,000 in cash.

REDBROWARD has documented Omar Smith’s extensive role in Dale Holness’ political campaigns and the campaign of Holness’ political allies. REDBROWARD was first to expose Omar Smith’s role in creating shady political action committees supporting Holness and his allies. The committees include the Federal political committee known as “People of Principle.”

STICKER SHOCK FOR DAN LEWIS CLIENTS

danlewisDan Lewis’ political clients might be in for some serious sticker shock. Lewis’ political committee (Florida’s Democracy Project) just filed its first financial report with the State of Florida. Earlier this week, Lewis took credit for the latest edition of his “fake” endorsement card targeting Broward Democrat voters. According to Buddy Nevins at BrowardBeat, “In his filing documents, Lewis writes that the group has no bank account ‘because we anticipate no monetary transactions, only in-kind contributions.‘”

On August 5, 2016 Florida’s Democracy Project reported a $18,766.50 in-kind contribution from JNAC Communication and Management Services, LLC, a Fort Lauderdale company owned by Dan Lewis. The in-kind contribution was described as “slate card production.”

LEWIS CLIENTS CHARGED DOUBLE THE COST OF BLUE CARD

Lewis’ clients paid twice as much for their countywide mailers than the in-kind cost of the blue card. In July, Clerk of Courts candidate Mitch Ceasar paid $41,877.51 to JNAC for “mailer, printing and postage.” Broward Circuit Court Judge candidate Doreen Turner Inkeles paid $44,162.75 to JNAC.

Two Broward County Court candidates paid Lewis’ JNAC the exact same amount for mailers. Kim Mollica and Rhoda Sokoloff each paid $45,331.83 to Lewis’ company.

INVESTIGATION INTO 2014 BLUE CARD

It is unclear how many “fake” blue cards were produced by Dan Lewis so far this year. REDBROWARD can confirm some voters have received the card by mailer. A source claims volunteers may be used to hand deliver cards.

In 2014, Lewis boasted of printing more than one million cards. REDBROWARD exposed that was not true.

Florida Elections Commission investigators found Lewis did not print one million “blue cards.” Investigators obtained invoices from Lewis’ printer, The Printer’s Printer, and cancelled checks. Robert Zelinka of The Printer’s Printer told investigators he had printed just 200,000 cards for Lewis. Zelinka said just 117,000 cards were mailed to Broward voters. On October 9, 2014, the company submitted an invoice for $12,499 to Lewis’ Strategic Technologies & Research, Inc. Lewis was billed $10,126 for 3 versions of “postcards’ and $2,373 for three different mail “drops.”

This invoice was received one week before Dan Lewis told BrowardBeat he had printed one million cards.

Lewis was accused of using a “fake” union label on his cards as well.

In July 2015, State investigator Keith Smith spoke with Tom Schatz, a chief investigator for the Teamsters Union in Washington, D.C.

Smith had faxed a copy of the mailer to Schatz to determine the validity of the union label on the “blue cards.” According to Smith’s notes, Schatz said, “that after reviewing the copy of the union-label and asking around, it was determined that the union-label was definitely not theirs and was a ‘counterfeit’ union-label. He said it appears that someone ‘made up’ the union-label and ‘stuck it on’ the mailer.”

Questions continue to swirl around Lewis’ card but he refuses to comment to REDBROWARD. Yesterday, REDBROWARD reported Lewis used the same US Post Office bulk mail permit to send clients mailers and the blue card. Was postage the in-kind contribution? Did the printer charge Lewis for the cards this time? Did Lewis buy his own printing press? Broward voters (and a few judicial candidates) deserve answers.