Lower Manhattan Resident Charged with Defrauding Millions from Pandemic Loan Program
A resident of the Financial District has been arrested in connection with what federal prosecutors describe as a $5.8-million scheme to defraud the paycheck protection program (PPP), the federal loans given to small businesses hurt by the economic slowdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marcus Frazier, who resides at 19 Dutch Street, was taken into custody on Wednesday morning. Federal prosecutors allege that he filed for almost $6 million in PPP loans, and actually received approximately $2.17 million, based on these applications.
According to a criminal complaint signed by Simon Dinits, a special agent with the Office of the Inspector General of the federal Small Business Administration (SBA), Mr. Frazier represented to multiple lenders that he employed some 60 people across three businesses, with names like Frazier Consulting (which purported to advise clients on grant applications and contracts); Frazier, Pringle & Myers (putatively specializing in “cyber issues”); and FPM Strategies (which did not specify its line of business).
The complaint also claims that Mr. Frazier told lenders that his monthly payroll was nearly $500,000, while his quarterly gross revenue was ran to six figures, and that his companies had several million dollars deposited at various banks.
Agent Dinits attested in the complaint filing that, in fact, the balances for those accounts were never higher than $40 during the period in which Mr. Frazier was applying for PPP loans, that his lists of employees were fabricated (along with the Social Security number corresponding to each name), and that Mr. Frazier’s income consisted mainly of unemployment benefits.
The same document also tracks what may have happened to at least some of the money that Mr. Frazier is alleged to have received. Federal prosecutors claim the PPP loan proceeds funded lavish personal spending, such as, “$124,982 on hotels, including more than approximately $88,791 at a luxury hotel located in Miami, Florida; approximately $63,000 on restaurants and food service, approximately $17,000 on transportation with Uber, approximately $16,519 on airline travel, and approximately $11,000 on clothing.”
United States Attorney Audrey Strauss said, “as alleged, Marcus Frazier sought millions of dollars in unsecured SBA-guaranteed loans for which his businesses did not qualify. Frazier allegedly did this by lying about the number of people employed by his businesses, the salaries they were paid, even that these employees existed. Further, Frazier allegedly used the loan proceeds he did obtain not to pay allowable expenses, but rather, to fund his lavish lifestyle. Now Marcus Frazier stands to learn the true cost of his alleged conduct.”
Mr. Frazier, who was unavailable to comment for this story, has been charged with a range of federal crimes, including major fraud against the United States, bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, making false statements, making false statements to the SBA, and making false statements to a bank. If convicted on all counts and sentenced consecutively, Mr. Frazier, aged 47, faces a maximum of 117 years in prison.
Much Ado about Nutten
Governors Island Opens New Season Packed with Attractions and Events
The 172-acre island off Lower Manhattan that was called Nutten by British settlers in the colonial era, but which we know as Governors Island, kicked off its 2021 season on Saturday, May 1, with a broad range of programs and offerings.
Hammock Grove offers lounging, accompanied by a new herd of sheep brought in to control invasive flora. Kids will delight in the nearby Hammock Grove Play Area, along with the water feature at Liggett Terrace, and Slide Hillʼs collection of helter skelter-esqe winding descents. Thrill seekers of all ages may wish to check out Adventures at Governors Island, which, for a fee, offers a 300-foot zip line and climbing wall. To read more…
Online concert. During trying times, music stills our souls and provides a healing grace. Throughout the season of Lent, Comfort at One will present performances that are inspired by the Gandhi quote: “In the midst of darkness, light persists.” These concerts include improvisations by Julian Wachner, light-inspired Bach cantatas, our 2014 Lenten “Lamentatio” series featuring NOVUS NY and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, new performances from the Trinity Youth Chorus and St. Paul’s Chapel Choir, and new virtual content on Fridays from our extended family of artists.
STEM Supremes is a series of conversations with leading women in science and tech exploring their careers, discoveries, insights, and what they see on the horizon in their respective fields. This event will feature Dr. Rebecca Oppenheimer, Curator and Professor, Department of Astrophysics, at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Dr. Oppenheimer is a comparative exoplanetary scientist: she studies planets orbiting stars other than the Sun by trying to see them directly and to dissect their chemical compositions. The co-discoverer of Gliese 229B, the first object smaller than a star ever seen outside the solar system, her research includes the development of new astronomical instrumentation that allow the direct investigation of objects in other solar systems. Dr. Oppenheimer serves on numerous national and international committees related to astronomical research, physics and the state of astrophysics, including three terms on the NASA Astrophysics Senior Review. A dedicated educator and science communicator, Dr. Oppenheimer is an Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University. She has also curated or co-curated programs including the AstroBulletin series of news items and bi-annual documentaries, the Digital Universe Atlas, the space show Journey to the Stars and the exhibit Searching for New Worlds. Free
BPCA Prepares Preliminary Steps to Implement South End Avenue Plan
The Battery Park City Authority offered an update on its plans to reconfigure South End Avenue and West Thames Street. This project envisions narrowing both South End Avenue and West Thames Street, while widening nearby sidewalks, and relocating several bus stops.
Board chair Tammy Meltzer began the discussion by noting that CB1, “passed resolutions and had dialogue about South End Avenue going back five years. It’s been very long time that we’ve been waiting for capital improvements on South End Avenue,” in a reference to the BPCA’s presentation about its budget, offered at the April 7 meeting.
BPCA president B.J. Jones replied, “we do have a line item for South End Avenue for this year, to kick the design and engineering into gear. And you’re right, Tammy. We have talked and spent a lot of time with that effort. And it is time that we get started.” To read more…
The Downtown Alliance, in partnership with The Tank and En Garde Arts, will present a live, free outdoor performance festival in Lower Manhattan on the weekends of May 15/16 and May 22/23.
Three open-air venues (Four New York Plaza, where a covered loading dock will become a stage; the 85 Broad Street arcade, adjacent to Stone Street; and One Battery Park Plaza, featuring with views of New York Harbor) will host performances from noon to 8:00 pm. Participating artists include multiple Obie Award and Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as emerging voices, such as playwright/actress Kaaron Briscoe; playwright/actor David Greenspan; hip-hop, spoken word and performance artists Baba Israel and Grace Galu; and popular downtown music and storytelling duo James and Jerome. Tickets are free, but required — and must be reserved in advance for social distancing and pandemic precautions. To R.S.V.P., please browse: TheTankNYC.org and/or EnGardeArts.org
Ars Gratia Artis
The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) is offering 18 free arts classes for older adults, with offerings ranging from a Japanese dance workshop to memoir writing. The organization has enlisted more than a dozen professional artists, working across a broad range of disciplines, oversee creative-aging projects for Downtown seniors. The classes are offered through June 30, and all are remote and free to attend. No previous experience is required, and art materials are provided. The series includes dance and movement, music, theater and storytelling, visual arts and writing and literature. For more information, or to sign up, please browse: https://lmcc.net/resources/artist-residencies/su-casa/
Socialize Under the Stars
Pier 17 will re-open the Greens, its rooftop space, on May 3.
A reservation (priced at between $20 and $40, depending on the time of day, with a portion of the fee going to local charities) get you a ten-by-ten patch of mini-lawn, with with cabana-style lounge chairs, a sun umbrella, a USB charging port and a cooler. Bites and cocktails cost extra, but the panoramic view is included. For more information, please browse: http://thegreens.pier17ny.com
The Battery Park City Authority asks that the public not interact with or feed the urban wildlife in the neighborhood’s parks and green spaces, and at the waterfront.
Downtown Non-Profit Sues to Halt Arrest for Minor Offenses
A non-profit based in Lower Manhattan is suing the New York Police Department and the City to halt the practice of arresting people accused of low-level offenses, such as administrative violations and infractions, misdemeanors, and some class-E felonies.
The Legal Aid Society, headquartered at 199 Water Street, filed suit on April 14 in New York State Supreme Court, on behalf of multiple plaintiffs who were arrested and detained on minor offenses during the demonstrations that convulsed Lower Manhattan last summer, following the death of George Floyd in police custody in May.
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.
Pete Seeger examining the hammer (as in, If I had a Hammer), presented to him backstage at Irving Plaza in the 1980s by Lower Manhattan’s Tom Goodkind of the Washington Squares. photo: Jill Goodkind
1715 – A total solar eclipse was visible across northern Europe, and northern Asia, as predicted by Edmond Halley to within 4 minutes accuracy.
1791 – The Constitution of May 3 (the first modern constitution in Europe) is proclaimed by the Sejm of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
1802 – Washington, D.C. is incorporated as a city.
1855 – American adventurer William Walker departs from San Francisco with about 60 men to conquer Nicaragua.
1937 – Gone with the Wind, a novel by Margaret Mitchell, wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
1952 – Lieutenant Colonels Joseph O. Fletcher and William P. Benedict of the United States land a plane at the North Pole.
1957 – Walter O’Malley, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, agrees to move the team from Brooklyn, to Los Angeles.
1973 – The 108-story Sears Tower in Chicago is topped out at 1,451 feet as the world’s tallest building.
1978 – The first unsolicited bulk commercial email (which would later become known as “spam”) is sent by a Digital Equipment Corporation marketing representative to every ARPANET address on the west coast of the United States.
2015 – Two gunmen launch an attempted attack on an anti-Islam event in Garland, Texas, which was held in response to the Charlie Hebdo shooting.
612 – Constantine III, Byzantine emperor (d. 641)
1849 – Jacob Riis, Danish-American journalist and photographer (d. 1914)
1912 – Virgil Fox, American organist and composer (d. 1980)
1919 – Pete Seeger, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and activist (The Weavers and Almanac Singers) (d. 2014)
1940 – David Koch, American engineer, businessman, and philanthropist (2019)
1989 – Christine Jorgensen, American trans woman (b. 1926)
1991 – Jerzy Kosiński, Polish-American novelist and screenwriter (b. 1933)
2006 – Karel Appel, Dutch painter, sculptor, and poet (b. 1921)
2007 – Wally Schirra, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1923)
2010 – Roy Carrier, American accordion player (b. 1947)