NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach man was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for his role in an internet-based loan scam that defrauded nearly 1,700 owners and prospective owners of small businesses out of $1,076,000, and for fraudulently collecting unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to court documents, Ronald A. Smith, 60, and his co-defendant and wife, Terri Beth Miller, 53, set up an internet-based company, Business Development Group, that offered, in exchange for an advance fee, assistance to individuals in preparing applications to obtain loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. From August 2012 through February 2018, Smith and Miller solicited potential customers on the basis of false, fraudulent, and misleading statements and representations, including that the company was headquartered at the Trump Building in New York City with additional offices in Las Vegas, that it was…

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