A Clovis man accused of stealing $1.4 million in COVID-19 relief money pleaded guilty in federal court.
U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert announced the guilty plea on Monday for Ruben Mireles.
Driving the news: Mireles was the owner of Vista Pacific Labor Solutions Inc. (VPLS), a farm labor contracting business in Kings County, according to court documents. He changed the name to Calzona Ag Management Inc. (CAM) and did business as Vista Pacific Farm Management.
- Mireles applied for a $1.4 million Paycheck Protection Program loan for CAM in January 2021.
- Shortly after in April 2021, Mireles applied for and received another $1.4 million loan for VPLS, falsely representing to the Small Business Administration that VPLS was a separate company from CAM.
- Mireles also represented in the application that he had not received any other PPP loans despite having received CAM’s loan.
- He was also facing state fraud charges at the time, something that he did not report to the Small Business Administration.
What we’re watching: Mireles will be sentenced on Feb. 20, 2024. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.