A woman in Florida has been arrested by Miami authorities for allegedly using money from the Paycheck Protection Program to hire a hitman.

Jasmine Martinez, 33, was arrested earlier this month for allegedly hiring a contract killer to murder Le’Shonte Jones, 24, in April 2021, shortly after receiving a $15,000 PPP loan. Miami-Dade authorities said Martinez withdrew $10,000 from her bank accounts in the lead-up to the shooting, which left Jones dead and her 3-year-old daughter injured, according to arrest records obtained by the Miami Herald.

Martinez was arrested with her romantic partner, Romiel Robinson, on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, the news report said. Police also arrested Javon Carter, whom they believe to be the hitman, on charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder. Jones was shot with a semi-automatic pistol by a hooded man as she was walking to her apartment with her daughter, according to authorities.

Carter had a video on his cellphone from two hours after the shooting showing him counting a large sum of money and saying “just another day in the office.” Martinez applied for the loan for her single-employee beauty salon, receiving it April 20, 2021. Jones was killed May 3. Jones and Martinez had a series of legal run-ins over the years, including a 2016 case in which Martinez physically attacked Jones, the Miami Herald reported.

Martinez’s defense attorney, Fallon Zirpoli, told the Washington Examiner that her client maintains she had no role in the killing.

PPP loans were a pandemic measure for use by small businesses to continue paying employees, rent, and utilities during COVID-19 shutdowns. The emergency nature of the loans meant that many applicants weren’t vetted thoroughly, resulting in numerous cases of abuse. Recipients have been convicted of using the money on luxury items, vacations, sports cars, and some illegal activity, according to the New York Times.

The Miami-Dade Police Department did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.

Original Article: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/florida-woman-accused-of-using-ppp-loan-to-hire-hitman?

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