CINCINNATI — An FBI affidavit accuses a Cincinnati property manager of conspiracy and fraud for allegedly filing false claims for COVID-19 relief and collecting huge fees for helping four other individuals do the same.
Court records show federal agents arrested Joe Lentine Sept. 10.
Lentine owns TriState Organization, the property manager for a receivership that controls dozens of rental houses and vacant lots owned by longtime Cincinnati landlord John Klosterman.
The affidavit claims the applicants paid Lentine $207,300 in fees for filing applications for 9 forgivable SBA PPP loans totaling $681,441.
That's roughly a 30-percent fee for filing the paperwork.
According to the affidavit, "under SBA rules and regulations, those who assist with preparing PPP applications are prohibited from collecting fees from borrowers and may not be paid out of PPP loan proceeds."
In his office, Lentine insisted he hadn't done anything illegal and that he was entitled to those fees.
But according to the FBI affidavit, Lentine "conceded to knowing that some of the businesses that his associates claimed for the purposes of obtaining PPP loans were not legitimate."
The affidavit said Lentine also filed false information to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in COVID relief funds for his company.
Lentine told the I-Team he's cooperating with federal investigators and gave them his business records 2-3 months ago.
Lentine admits the case against him resulted from complaints made by Klosterman.
Klosterman is serving a one-year jail sentence for stalking one of Lentine's employees.
That employee is also accused of conspiracy and fraud.
The I-Team reached out to her for comment on the case, but she did not immediately respond.
It's unclear if the criminal complaint filed against Lentine will impact the receivership and the anticipated sale of Klosterman's properties, which is widely considered key to turning around Sedamsville, the west side Cincinnati neighborhood where Klosterman controls much of the rental housing.
The manager for the receivership said he's aware of the criminal case against Lentine and has "not made a change in the property manager as of now."