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Kentucky man sentenced in $1.3M COVID-relief fund scheme

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Posted at 5:15 PM, Jul 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-09 17:15:55-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining pandemic small business loans totaling more than $1.3 million.

Federal authorities said he used some of the funds to pay off gambling debts.

Randall “Rocky” Blankenship, of Versailles, was sentenced to 42 months on Thursday, according to a media release from U.S. Attorney Carlton Shier.

A plea agreement said Blankenship, 49, submitted fraudulent applications in April 2020 for four businesses he formed. The pandemic relief funds were provided under the Paycheck Protection Program, part of a federal relief package in 2020.

Federal authorities said Blankenship created fake tax documents and payroll records. He used some of the funds for casino debts, along with an RV business and other personal uses. The U.S. Attorney's office said Blankenship has repaid the stolen funds in full.