BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The U.S. Attorney’s office announced Wednesday that a Niagara Falls man pleaded guilty to wire fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Authorities say that 57-year-old Leo Benevento of Niagara Falls fraudulently obtained a pair of loans from the Small Business Association under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. He submitted false applications for loans related to businesses “WNY 24 7 Realty” and “Benevento Realty,” inflating annual revenue and underreporting annual expenses.

Attorneys say that he received $117,300 through the program. He has reimbursed these loans.

He was charged with wire fraud. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

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Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.