The hitman who was hired to assassinate a Miami federal airport agent was paid off with a PPP loan given to help small businesses during the pandemic.
PPP loan money used to hire hitman
New court records show Jasmine Martinez received a $15,000 PPP loan, which she said was to help her keep her one-employee beauty salon going, last April.
According to arrest warrants, Martinez later withdrew more than $10,000 from the loan in the days leading up to the murder.
The incident took place on May 3, 2021, when accused hitman Javon Carter, an ex-con, approached US Transportation Security Administration agent Le’Shonte Jones as she walked to his apartment in south Miami-Dade, and shot him. several times, according to the police.
PPP loan fraud
The story is an extreme and grim example of the level of fraud surrounding PPP loans. Since April 2020, through the CARES Act, the U.S. government has provided billions of dollars in emergency financial assistance to help financially support Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This support includes loans to small businesses for maintaining jobs and other vital expenses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Unfortunately, the system has been subject to abuse and fraud. In late May 2020, the Department of Justice announced that there had been at least four lawsuits for fraudulent PPP loan applications involving millions of dollars.
Fraud and tampering with witnesses
In this specific tragedy involving the fraudulent use of PPP loan funds, newly released documents show a tangle of allegations involving a murder-for-hire conspiracy. Documents also reveal fraud and witness tampering in the killing of a Transportation Security Administration agent outside his home in 2021.
Le-Shonte Jones, 24, was shot in broad daylight and died at the scene. Her three-year-old daughter was also beaten and injured.
Martinez is accused of being the mastermind of the conspiracy and the one who allegedly used a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan to fund the hitman, the arrest warrant says.
Bank records obtained by police show a series of cash withdrawals prior to the homicide.