A former Broward Sheriff’s deputy is facing charges in COVID relief loan scheme

Another former Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy has been accused of falsely attaining funds from a government loan program meant to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just last year, 17 Broward Sheriff’s employees faced charges of fleecing the same loan program.

READ MORE: 17 Broward sheriff’s employees face charges of fleecing federal pandemic loan program

Ernest Bernard Gonder Jr., 41, of Port St. Lucie, is facing two counts of wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida. Gonder was a BSO Department of Detention lieutenant.

Gonder made his first court appearance on Tuesday and was given a bond of $250,000, which he paid and is not in jail. His case will be resolved through a plea agreement with a jury trial set for early March, court documents show.

On April 1, authorities say Gonder submitted a fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loan application on behalf of EBG Properties LLC, in which he lied about the company’s monthly payroll and number of employees, the state attorney’s office said.

The program was the main pandemic relief benefit for struggling businesses.

Gonder is listed as the registered agent and only authorized member of EBG Properties, a Florida company, Florida Division of Corporations records show.

He was approved for a $106,540 loan, which was disbursed into a bank account Gonder controlled, officials said.

Five days later, he submitted a second fraudulent PPP loan “misrepresenting” The Impact Center of Broward County Inc’s payroll and employee records.

Gonder is listed as the Impact Center’s president, Florida business records show.

He was again approved for a $61,210 loan which was disbursed to a different bank account that he still had control over.

He was charged with receiving $167,750 in fraudulent loans on Jan. 5.