A Plymouth business owner has been charged with pocketing more than $155,000 in Covid relief funds he wasn’t entitled to.

Joseph Kerrissey, 46, who owns several construction companies in town, allegedly filed six fraudulent applications for payroll protection loans between 2020 and 2021, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.

Kerrissey, charged with three counts of wire fraud, appeared April 9 before federal Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley, who released him with conditions.

He must report periodically to probation and seek employment. He was also instructed not to apply for any loans without court approval.

If convicted, Kerrissey faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Kerrissey is believed to be the fifth Plymouth resident accused of improperly collecting Covid relief payments.

In November, the Independent detailed charges against four Plymouth residents accused by state or federal prosecutors of stealing nearly $500,000 in Covid funds — money intended to help small businesses and individuals survive the pandemic.

But the money was doled out with few safeguards and federal authorities this week said they have already brought charges against more than 3,500 defendants for losses of more than $2 billion.

In 2018, Kerrissey, whose companies include JDHE Holding LLC, JK Snow Management LLC, and Sunrise Equipment and Excavation Inc., pled guilty to 107 charges brought by the Massachusetts attorney general including larceny, and wage and hour violations.

He was ordered to pay his employees $91,743 in restitution and was sentenced to 36 months’ probation — which ended in 2021.

He was still on probation when he applied for the loans, federal prosecutors allege.

As part of the required backup documentation, prosecutors allege, Kerrissey submitted fraudulent income tax forms — forms that were not filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

To qualify for payroll protection loans, applicants had to state the number of employees and the average monthly payroll.

They also were required to answer two questions:

“Has an owner of the company ever been indicted or arraigned, jailed or placed on probation?”

And: “Has an owner of the company ever been convicted of any felony involving fraud, bribery or embezzlement?”

The applications states if the answer to either question is “yes,” the loan will be denied.

Kerrissey answered “no” to both questions, prosecutors allege.

Kerrissey’s lawyer, federal defender Scott Lauer, declined to comment.

Andrea Estes can be reached at andrea@plymouthindependent.org.

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