BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A 50 year old Beckley man pleads guilty to COVID-19 relief fraud.

50 year old Mark William Bailey pleaded guilty to theft of government money. He revealed that he stole approximately $451,237.51 in COVID-19 relief loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

According to information found in court documents and statements, on July 10, 2020, Bailey was the sole owner and president of RMR Delivery Service Inc. when he received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for $150,000. The CARES Act made the EIDL program for small businesses that were eligible due to major financial disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Money received from the EIDL program is only able to be used for specific allowed business expenses, that includes accounts payable, payment of fixed business debts, payroll, and other business-related expenses that would have been able to be paid if the COVID-19 pandemic had not happened.

The CARES Act offered an emergency lifeline amid a devastating pandemic, and Mr. Bailey saw this as an opportunity to enrich himself at the expense of taxpayers. I commend the thorough, collaborative and all-hands-on-deck approach by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Office of Inspector General (NASA OIG), the United States Secret Service, the West Virginia State Police-Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) and the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office (WVSAO) Public Integrity and Fraud Unit (PIFU).

Will Thompson | United States Attorney

Bailey made two changes to his EIDL, first by expanding the loan amount to $500,000, and second by increasing it again to $2 million. For Bailey to receive these changes, he confirmed that RMR Delivery Service Inc. would be using the money to help relieve economic injury that were a result of the pandemic. He then admitted to using around $403,768.04 of the EIDL money for his own gain from approximately March 1, 2022 through around October 20, 2022, including using the money to buy a personal car and a garage.

NASA OIG is committed to investigating and holding accountable those who improperly obtain and use government loans. I am proud of the exceptional teamwork of our federal and state law enforcement partners, the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee Fraud Task Force, and the USAO for the Southern District of West Virginia which resulted in today’s guilty plea.

Adelle Harris | Special Agent in Charge of the NASA Office of Inspector General’s Eastern Field Office

In addition, Baily applied for and received a $110,032 loan through the Paycheck Protection Program around April 2020. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was another program created by the CARES Act for eligible small businesses. Loans from the PPP were intended for job retention and other expenses related to small businesses. He acknowledged to using $47,469.47 of the loan he received from the PPP for his own use to pay his mortgage around June 4, 2020.

We are committed in our office to protecting taxpayer dollars and holding those accountable who commit fraud. The pandemic was challenging for everyone, especially our small businesses, and these loans were to help businesses survive, but unfortunately, we know that some took advantage of the billions of dollars flowing out of Washington. I would like to commend the investigative work by this task force, including our specialized accountants, who are cracking down on this abuse and returning taxpayer dollars to the people.

J.B. McCuskey | West Virginia State Auditor

Bailey’s sentencing is scheduled for January 12, 2024, and he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and he owes $451,237.51 in restitution.