seven years imprisonment required against an influencer

If the Covid-19 epidemic has put many French people in uncertainty, others have seen it as a way to enrich themselves. And not necessarily legally. Prosecutors on Wednesday demanded seven years in prison and a fine of 100,000 euros against an influencer suspected of embezzling millions of euros in Covid assistance via social networks.

Paul A. alias “PA7”, who posted pictures of himself in front of a luxury car or swimming pool in Dubai in 2021, has since Monday been charged in Paris with six other people, particularly for organized gang fraud. He admitted to having established a “business” from the spring of 2020: filling out fake grant applications on behalf of the self-employed or self-employed, recruited via his little digital celebrity, while receiving a commission of about 40% of grants paid.

Macron’s ‘whatever it takes’ was not applicable to just anything

“Everyone in this courtroom has the formula of the President of the Republic in mind: ‘no matter what it costs’,” prosecutor Anne Proust stated in her indictment. “Millions of citizens have heard this formula, but some, on the lookout, have maintained that it allows them to get rich, no matter what it costs others,” she said.

The Solidarity Fund, established in March 2020, aimed to keep companies afloat whose activity has been slowed down or even stopped by confinement. The system, which has evolved over the months, represented a total of 40 billion euros. For the sake of “speed”, the system was based on a declarative form, with first “automatic” controls then, “a posteriori”, “physical” controls, one of which in Yvelines led to the initiation of the investigation.

33.8 million euros required

On his account, “PA7”, which still has 51,000 subscribers to Snapchat, posted “tempting publications, stagings of his person that should inspire both the trust of his followers and the latter’s desire to raise public funds in record time,” he described. the prosecutor. While the young man disputes the deferred amounts, between March 2020 and July 2021, the representative of the public prosecutor withheld a total of almost 700 fraudulent requests, for 33.8 million euros demanded and 7.5 million actually paid.

This last sum is “250 teachers paid in a year, or a little more than 314 nurses, that’s what the team – PA7 – has stolen”, the judge insisted, adding that it was also “about a quarter of the scams that were discovered to date “, or 30 million. according to the Court of Auditors.

Yachts, luxury hotels, parties … at the expense of the Solidarity Fund

In December 2020, Paul A. traveled to Dubai, where he continued to “make files” and where he “flamed” the money from his “commissions” worth 3 million by the prosecution: yacht trips, stays in a luxury hotel, bag, jewelry, parties … before being arrested in July 2021, repatriated to France and placed in prison.

“To the immature, gambler, slightly megalomaniacal young man (…) is added another aspect of his personality, arrogance (and) lured to profit,” the prosecutor assessed, assessing that her statements at the hearing were not a “promise of change”. “. According to her, Julien M., who accompanied Paul A. to Dubai, was the “general manager” of the “PA7 company”, the one who mainly managed certain “payout” circuits for the purpose of money laundering. She asked for six years in prison and a fine of 80,000 euros for this 24-year-old “first-time criminal”.

Against four other defendants, including a woman who is still wanted, suspected of having participated in the scam to varying degrees, she demanded sentences of two to four years in prison, depending on the case matched with fines of up to 80,000 euros. Finally, she demanded four months’ conditional imprisonment against a “client” of “PA7” who had seen one of her “ads” on Snapchat and had illegally received 20,000 euros through it. Proceedings are still ongoing regarding the few hundred other wrongful recipients. The defense is due to plead Thursday.

Leave a Comment