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Three arrested in Secaucus after stealing COVID-19 relief funds

They allegedly applied for and received a loan meant for small businesses

The money should have gone to small businesses suffering from the economic hardships of COVID-19.

The Secaucus Police Department arrested a trio of alleged fraudsters who made off with $10,000 in COVID-19 relief funds.

In 2020, Adam Rodriguez, 22, from Clifton, and Madison Sedell, 19, of Secaucus allegedly fraudulently applied for three separate loans on behalf of made-up businesses, ranging from agricultural companies to a marketing company.

The three loans were in the amounts of $10,000, $10,000 and $9,000 respectively. One was approved. Collectively they received $10,000 from funds that were intended to assist legitimate small businesses suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Cares Acts, the Economic Injury Disaster Grant (EIDG) is a Loan/Grant processed directly through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The proceeds are to be used for working capital of an established business, not to start or expand a business.

Rodriquez is charged with forging a check belonging to Clean Eats, LLC, in the amount of $1,900. Secaucus resident Jadyn Brower, 19, allegedly conspired with Rodriquez and Sedell to launder money by transferring some of it to each other through various online cash applications. All three were arrested on February 2.

Rodriguez is charged with Forgery, Money Laundering, three counts of Falsifying Records, Theft by Deception, two counts of Criminal Attempt to Commit Theft by Deception, and Conspiracy to Commit Theft by Deception. He was remanded to the Hudson County Jail.

Sedell and Brower were each charged with Conspiracy to Commit Theft by Deception and Money Laundering. They were both released pending their appearances in court.

“I applaud Detective Aniello Schaffer for his determination in following up on what initially was received as a “tip” on our tip line and bringing these three defendants to justice,” Secaucus Chief Dennis Miller said. “It is very unfortunate that even during a pandemic, criminals will find a way to commit nefarious acts.” I also want to thank Homeland Security Investigations, HSI, Newark Division, for their assistance in this investigation.”

Call (201) 330-2049, email spdtips@secaucus.net, or visit secaucuspolice.org with tips.

These charges are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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