A gay former official for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is facing charges he embezzled over $2.1 million from the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans . Kenneth Caughan, 41, of Washington, D.C., allegedly spent the funds to buy luxury items like a yacht, sports car, and rowhouse, according to a statement from the Office of the U.S Attorney for the District of Columbia. He was also charged with allegedly stealing $472 thousand from the archdiocese in a separate scheme.
“We will not tolerate exploitation of this national emergency for personal gain,” Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin said in a statement. “This Office will not allow fraudsters to steal taxpayer money intended to help small businesses that are currently struggling.”
According to Office of the U.S Attorney for the District of Columbia, Gaughan concocted a scheme to receive the loans by fraudulently registering “business names of at least eight bogus emotional support animal companies.” He then used these fictitious companies to apply for federal relief funds. The government further alleges he “used a portion of the loan proceeds to purchase a 2020 Cruisers Yachts 338 CX 33-foot watercraft, a 2020 Kia Stinger, and a row house.”
The indictment alleges an earlier separate scheme that began in June 2010 and continued to at least April 2018 where Gaughan used his position as assistant supervisor in charge of recruiting contractors to submit bogus invoices for payment. The services were supposedly for various programs such as anti-bullying and crisis intervention, but the services were never provided and the companies were secretly owned by Gaughan. He is accused of depositing the checks into bank accounts he controlled, and then again using the funds for personal use.
It should be noted that the charges in the indictment are allegations, and Gaughan, like all defendants, is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Still, the agents on the case are clearly disturbed by the case.
“Unfortunately, there are greedy individuals who choose to abuse these programs in order to enrich their lifestyle,” said Kelly R. Jackson, IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge of the Washington DC Field Office.