Buffalo Man Facing 25 Charges, Including Drug, Gun And COVID Fraud Charges, In Two Separate Indictments | USAO-WDNY | Department of Justice

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Contact: Barbara Burns (Barbara Burns)

Phone: (716) 843-5817

Fax number: (716)551-3051

Buffalo, New York-US Attorney James Kennedy Jr. announced today that the federal grand jury has returned two indictments against Joseph Bella, 48, of Buffalo, New York. Replaces the indictment accusing the defendant with intent to spread and disseminate cocaine; maintaining drug-related premises; possessing guns to facilitate drug trafficking; being an illegal user of controlled substances with guns; and threatening to harm others through interstate communications . The mandatory minimum penalty for these charges is five years in prison, life imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.

The second indictment accused Bella of wire transfer and mail fraud, money laundering and making false statements about loan applications. The charges in the second indictment carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.

American lawyer Kennedy pointed out: "The common thread throughout the allegations in the two indictments is that the defendant is willing to take any action to make money, even if it means endangering the health and safety of others."

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas T. Cooper (Nicholas T. Cooper) and David Rudlov (David J., U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Buffalo Police Department in Buffalo A search warrant was executed at a residence on Summer Street. The defendant was present during the execution of the warrant. During the search, a large amount of cocaine, plastic bags and electronic scales were seized. In addition, the agents also found: a bullet gun and multiple bullets; THC gummies, lollipops and other THC edible foods; hemp cigarettes and bulk hemp; THC vape cartridges; suspected mushrooms; small amounts of ecstasy; various pills; and THC resins.

In addition, Bella allegedly deceived the Salt Lake City, Utah company (victim) that developed and produced COVID-19 test kits. Bella erroneously stated that its company Medcor Staffing, Inc. is laboratory-certified to perform high-complexity molecular tests, Medcor is the "end user" of the tests, and Medcor will not attempt to resell them. As a result, the victim sold Bella 5,000 COVID-19 tests, which he could not handle safely and accurately, could not support end users, and actually intended to sell them at a high price.

In March 2020, Bella advertised on his personal Facebook account saying that he was selling "FDA-approved COVID-19 test kits." In April 2020, the defendant communicated with the undercover federal agent via phone, text message and email, falsely telling the agent that he had 50,000 COVID-19 tests for sale; the COVID-19 test had been stored in Celsius in San Diego, California- In a 20 degree warehouse; Medcor is the "exclusive authorized distributor" of the test; Medcor employs doctors and scientists to answer customer questions. After Bella Bella fraudulently obtained the test at a price of $8 each, it tried to sell the test to an agent at a price of $30 or higher per test.

The defendant is also accused of fraudulently obtaining loans from the Small Business Association under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which aims to provide low-interest loans to eligible small businesses to help them meet their financial obligations and operating expenses. Disaster event. Under Bella’s instructions, his subordinates submitted a forged loan application under the EIDL plan, requesting Bella to own another business called BuyMyCard, which is the purchaser and reseller of gift cards. The application seriously exaggerated BuyMyCard's annual income, seriously underestimated BuyMyCard's annual expenditure, and falsely pointed out that Bella was not subject to formal criminal charges at the time of the application. Due to the falsified application, SBA approved and loaned $149,900 to BuyMyCard under the EIDL program.

Bella has been in domestic confinement since May 2020. After the two indictments were announced, U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. Roemer revoked Bella’s release and was ordered to be detained awaiting trial.

The indictment was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security under the direction of the agent in charge Kevin Kelly; Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Rose Brophy, the head of field operations; Customs and Borders The Aviation and Maritime Unit of the Protection Agency, under the direction of Director Brian Manaher; the U.S. Border Patrol, under the direction of Chief Patrolman Eduardo Payan; and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service ( Inspector-in-charge (Joseph W. Cronin) of the Boston Division; under the guidance of John B. DeVito, Special Director of the New York District Division, the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, Firearms, and Explosives; and the Buffalo Police Department, by the Commissioner Byron Lockwood is in charge.

The fact that the defendant was charged with a crime is only an accusation and is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

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138 Delaware Avenue-Buffalo, NY 14202

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