The 27-year-old Fort Lauderdale "entrepreneur" built his wealth thanks to his work as an executive for a Michigan-based credit-score repair and financial literacy business, Financial Education Services Inc. And by all accounts, that career was soaring. In January 2020, the syndicated business news wire service AccessWire even named Barosy one of the "Top 10 Leaders to Watch Closely in 2020," noting that the young professional's success as a Haitian immigrant and youngest executive vice president in the organization expected to "to do over 6 million dollars in sales and beyond" and calling him the embodiment of the "American Dream."
According to a recent federal indictment, authorities were watching Barosy closely and have charged the once-promising businessman — now the president of V Barosy Solutions — with a slew of financial crimes including wire fraud, money laundering, and identity theft. If found guilty, he faces up to 132 years in prison.
In March 2020, as businesses across the U.S. began to shutter as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns, Barosy and unnamed associates allegedly submitted a handful of fraudulent loan applications — fudging the company's expenses, net profit, and various IRS tax forms — to request more than $4.2 million from the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Court documents indicate they ultimately received $2.1 million.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act went into effect March 29, 2020, and was intended to offer emergency financial help to struggling American businesses cover payroll and other business-related expenses in the form of a $349 billion forgivable loan package. Congress OK'd an additional $300 billion the following month.
The money was set aside for businesses suffocating under the weight of the financial crisis brought on by lockdowns that threatened to decimate global economies. But if the allegations brought in the federal indictment are true, Barosy saw these emergency funds as his for the taking.
The Fort Lauderdale resident was apparently the kind of person who loved to remind us of his wealth. In photos shared on his Instagram, Barosy showed off his watches worth tens of thousands and sported prominent designer brands like Chanel and Gucci, according to the indictment. The investigation was spearheaded by the U.S. Secret Service, which operates a field office in Miami.
In all, Barosy, who first appeared in a Miami federal courtroom on December 29, is charged with five counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft. Court records show Barosy did not appear at his arraignment Monday, citing "quarantine." He's being held at the Joseph V. Conte Facility in Pompano Beach.
New Times attempted to reach Barosy's attorney, Omar Antonio Lopez, via phone and email on Monday but have not heard back.
As brazen as these allegations are, Barosy is far from the first person to try to pull a fast one on the federal government under the alleged guise of requesting COVID financial assistance.
South Florida remains among one of the busiest regions in the nation when it comes to investigating and prosecuting COVID-related fraud cases. In March 2021, for instance, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida announced it was pursuing 18 different cases of alleged COVID relief defrauding. By May, the office announced the formation of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force, an initiative meant to bolster efforts to prevent pandemic-related fraud.
"Our work has just begun, and we will continue to work together with our partners to hold accountable those who try to cheat South Floridians of much-needed relief money," Ariana Fajardo Orshan, the U.S. attorney for the district, said in a statement at the time.
One of the more notable cases was that of former NFL player and Miami native Kenbrell Armod Thompkins, who federal authorities say used other people's identities in order to net multiple rounds of COVID-related unemployment insurance benefits.
The former New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders wide receiver pleaded guilty in October 2021 and is expected to be sentenced on January 6. He faces up to 12 years behind bars.