By: KDKA-TV’s Erika Stanish
CONNELLSVILLE, Pa. (KDKA) – A Fayette County business and 11 people have been charged after police said they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from programs meant to help people struggling during the pandemic.READ MORE: 2 Employees Injured In Fight Between Students At Carrick High School
After a year-long investigation, police say more than 250 charges were filed and more than $300,000 was stolen by Red Carpet Auto Sales in Connellsville.
According to a criminal complaint, police say this was an attempt to defraud the Pennsylvania Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection programs.READ MORE: Mysterious Disappearance Of 70-Year-Old Janet Walsh From Shaler Remains Unsolved 2 Years Later
State police say Red Carpet Auto Sales and eleven others were charged, including the owner of the business, Joshua Dewitt, and his salesman, Terry Newmeyer.
Police say the two would assist customers with filing for pandemic relief knowing the funds were fraudulently received.
Authorities say residents in Fayette County should be angry, going on to say that any time government funds are misused, it’s taking advantage of government funding intended for the people who really need it.
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PSP say the owner and a salesman at Red Carpet Auto Sales in Connellsville conspired to defraud the PA Unemployment Assistance Program and the U.S Small Business (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). A total of approx $311,301 & $32,300 in PUA and PPP loan funds, were stolen.
— Erika Stanish (@Erika_Stanish) November 23, 2021
The charges are now being handled by the Fayette County District Attorney’s Office.