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Press Release

Owner of ‘Agriculture’ Business Charged With Defrauding SBA of $150,000 in COVID-Relief Funds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Claimed 10 Employees and $7.5 Million in Revenue From a DC Apartment

            WASHINGTON – Lori Isabell Morgan, 35, of Greenbelt, Maryland, was arrested on June 12 on an indictment charging her with defrauding the U.S. Government of nearly $150,000 in Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) funds, which were meant to provide relief to businesses suffering economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

            The indictment, which charges six counts of wire fraud, was announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Scott of the Washington Field Office Criminal and Cyber Division, and Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of the U.S. Small Business Administration - Office of the Inspector General.

            Morgan made her initial court appearance on June 12 before the Honorable Zia M. Faruqui in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

            According to court documents, Morgan allegedly submitted an EIDL application to the Small Business Administration (SBA), in which she claimed to own 100% of an “agriculture” business that was based out of her Washington D.C. apartment. Morgan claimed to employ 10 people and to have generated $7.5 million in gross revenues in 2019. There allegedly was no such business.

            On July 8, 2020, the SBA deposited $149,900 in Morgan’s bank account. Morgan allegedly used the money to pay off her debts, and pay for auto repair, restaurant tabs, shopping purchases, and trips to Atlantic City and Las Vegas. By December 31, 2020, Morgan’s account balance was down to $829.

            The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law enacted in or around March 2020 and was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who were suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief that had been provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of billions in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses, through a program referred to as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). 

            An Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is a Small Business Administration administered loan designed to assist small businesses that suffered substantial economic injury as a result of a declared disaster. An EIDL helped businesses meet necessary financial obligations that could have been met had the disaster not occurred. It provided relief from economic injury that the disaster caused and permitted businesses to maintain a reasonable working capital position during the period that the disaster affected.

            The investigation into this matter was conducted by the FBI Washington Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Macey.

            A criminal indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.





Updated June 17, 2024

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-519