SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — A Springfield man will spend the next six years in prison and on home confinement after he pleaded guilty to felonies that included drug trafficking and COVID-19 wire fraud.
Demetrius Robertson, 30, was charged by a federal grand jury in May of 2021 with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of a firearm to further drug trafficking. The following February, he was also charged with wire fraud connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. He pleaded guilty to these offenses in May.
At Robertson’s sentencing, prosecutors presented evidence that Robertson was found in be possession of an illegal gun after neighbors noticed he was walking around with it. Evidence was also presented that he fraudulently obtained two separate loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.
U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough found that Robertson knowingly possessed the gun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and that he provided false information to obtain PPP loans. She noted that the illegal gun possession charge is a profoundly serious crime, saying community safety is jeopardized as a result of such conduct. She also noted the serious impact that COVID-19 fraud has on the community, saying that another business likely folded because it was unable to obtain the aid that instead went to Robertson.
“The people of the Central District of Illinois have a right to live a life free from gun violence,” said U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois Gregory K. Harris. “This office will continue to hold firearms offenders and drug traffickers accountable. It also is unconscionable that criminals sought to capitalize on the pandemic by stealing funds meant for hard working small businesses.”
Robertson was sentenced to five years in prison for the drug and gun charges. The fraud sentence was broken into two parts: six months in prison and six months of home confinement. These sentences will be served consecutively. In addition, Robertson was ordered to pay $45,327 in restitution in connection to the wire fraud offense and will spend two years on parole after release from prison.