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Business Observer Friday, Jul. 29, 2022 2 months ago

Pinellas man, 22, allegedly laundered PPP funds through fictitious charity

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Alexander Leszczynski is also accused of trying to exonerate himself with a fake pardon he claimed was signed by former President Donald Trump.
by: Brian Hartz Tampa Bay Editor

The PPP fraud case involving Alexander Leszczynski of Redington Shores isn’t as big as many others in terms of dollar amount — he’s accused of defrauding the program of $200,000 — but it’s compelling for several other reasons.

First and foremost, Leszczynski is 22 years old. He’s charged with three counts of wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud and two counts of money laundering in connection with a an alleged convoluted scheme that involved, among other things, a fake charity called Love & Bliss Inc., fraudulent deeds for properties valued at more than $300 million, a check-kiting scheme and — wait for it — a fabricated pardon that Leszczynski claimed was issued by former President Donald Trump.

If convicted, he faces a maximum prison term of 20 years for wire fraud, 30 years for bank fraud and 10 years for money laundering.

Redington Shores resident Alexander Leszczynski, 22, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on the fraud and money laundering charges leveled against him. (Photo courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office)

The high-profile PPP fraud charge actually might be the least of Leszczynski’s alleged offenses. According to the grand jury indictment against him, the check-kiting scheme netted him $337,000, but authorities say it could have produced as much as $2.7 million in ill-gotten gains if it had been a total success.

Read more: Hialeah man's scheme netted $1.9M in PPP funds

Yet he allegedly didn’t stop there. Leszczynski, the indictment contends, used the Internet to research high-value properties around the United States and then created fictitious warranty deeds, complete with forged signatures and fake notary stamps, that resulted in ownership of the properties being “transferred” to Love & Bliss Inc. and other made-up charitable entities.

When property owners and attorneys attempted to nullify the fraudulent deeds, Leszczynski allegedly responded by sending harassing and threatening letters, e-mails and faxes. Eventually, Leszczynski’s alleged scheme began to unravel, and federal officials froze the $337,000, prompting him to attempt to exonerate himself with the fake pardon.

Leszczynski’s Tampa-based attorney, Ronald Kurpiers II, is a former federal prosecutor and, in an interview with the Business Observer, says he’s been involved in some 380 fraud cases over his 35-year career. He was only recently assigned to Leszczynski’s case, however, and says he has yet to review the “93,000 pages of discovery,” adding, “I can’t tell you what Mr. Leszczynski is going to do because it’s too early.”

Leszczynski’s case had been set to go to trial in August, but on July 15, Kurpiers filed a 90-day motion for continuance for more time to review the case. U.S. Middle District of Florida Judge Mary Scriven granted the motion July 18.

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