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St. Paul construction contractor charged with fraud, laundering COVID relief funds

Federal prosecutors said a St. Paul man received nearly $841,000 based on a false application for a PPP loan.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

MINNEAPOLIS — Federal charges have been filed against a St. Paul contractor and construction company owner accused of fraudulently obtaining nearly $841,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans meant for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald announced Kyle William Brenizer, 32, is charged with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.

Brenzier was taken into custody and made his first court appearance in front of a federal judge on Friday. 

According to an unsealed federal indictment, prosecutors allege Brenzier submitted "false and misleading" PPP applications seeking $841,000 for his company, True-Cut Construction LLC, on two separate occasions in May 2020. 

Prosecutors said the first application, submitted May 1, was denied. 

The indictment states Brenzier's second application, submitted on May 12, was filed under the name of a different individual, who was falsely stated to own 90% of the company. Federal prosecutors said Brenzier also falsely stated the amount of his company's payroll, and falsely stated he was not facing any pending criminal charges, despite pending felony cases for alleged check forgery, theft and identity theft in the state of Minnesota. Federal investigators said those false statements led the second application to be approved.

The indictment then alleges that Brenzier used funds for non-business expenses. Prosecutors claim Brenzier transferred about $650,000 to an account unrelated to the business, and also purchased a $29,000 motorcycle, along with other personal retail and entertainment expenses.

PPP loans are limited to payroll expenses, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.

Brenzier was ordered to be held in custody until an arraignment hearing on Wednesday, August 26.

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