Andrew Hollins, who has also been known as Andrew Jones, 36, of Colchester and New York City, pleaded not guilty May 18 in United States District Court in Burlington to two separate indictments charging him with narcotics trafficking, wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Doyle ordered that Hollins be detained pending trial.
On December 13, 2022, a federal grand jury in Burlington returned a superseding indictment alleging that Hollins distributed cocaine on three dates in late 2019. At the same time, the grand jury returned a separate indictment charging Hollins with fraud, money laundering and identity theft in connection with a series of pandemic-related Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications he allegedly submitted to the U.S. Small Business Administration in July and August 2020. Under the EIDL loan program, the SBA provides low-interest loans to businesses and persons that have suffered financial hardship because of a natural disaster, such as the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to the indictment, Hollins applied for eight EIDL loans in mid-2020 in his own name, in the names of two businesses he founded, in the names of two relatives and in the names of three persons whose identities Jones allegedly stole. Some of the loans were funded by SBA, while others were rejected.
The indictment states that the applications were fraudulent because they contained materially false statements about when the businesses were established, about the companies’ gross receipts in the preceding year, about the number of employees each business had and about the physical location of the businesses.
The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.
If convicted on the drug charges, Hollins faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000,000. The wire fraud charges are punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.
The laws will likely be enforced in this case to a greater degree.
Mr. Hollins in 2014, sentenced to 58 months in jail for conspiring to distribute cocaine base (crack cocaine) and heroin in Burlington, Vermont. Hollins was also sentenced to a 3-year period of supervised release after release from prison. December 2017, a traffic stop in South Burlington found him in possession of drugs and violating conditions of “supervised” release. Mr. Hollins sued SBPD claiming the officers violated his constitutional rights (played the race card) seeking punitive and compensatory damages of $250,000. Being the Federal government was doling out PPE grants/loans with no vetting or oversight, Mr. Hollins took advantage of a game he knows how to play well. He will likely avoid any significant punishment for his efforts. The records for these perps speak for themselves. So much for habitual offender statutes. The premise that “no one is above the law” depends on who is applying it – it certainly is not the Justice Department, prosecutors, or AGs.