Little Rock Woman Pleads Guilty to COVID Relief Fraud:
Defendant Admits Receiving Nearly $2M for Defunct Business
LITTLE ROCK—A Little Rock woman pleaded guilty to bank fraud this afternoon after fraudulently obtaining nearly $2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans intended to provide relief for small businesses affected by COVID-19. Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Little Rock Field Office, announced today the guilty plea of Ganell Tubbs, 41.
At today’s hearing, Tubbs admitted that she purported to own two businesses: The Little Piglet Soap Company, LLC, and Suga Girl Customs, LLC. According to the Arkansas Secretary of State, neither business is in good standing, and both businesses list Tubbs’ residence and personal phone number as the business contact information.
On April 30, 2020, Tubbs submitted a PPP application representing that Suga Girl Customs had paid $1,385,903 in wages and compensation during the first quarter of 2020. She was approved for a PPP loan of $1,518,887 and received the funds on May 5, 2020, but two days later, she used the proceeds to make an $8,000 payment on her personal student loan. The following week, Tubbs spent approximately $6,000 in online purchases at retailers including Apple, Michael Kors, Sephora, North Face, Nike, and others.
Similarly, on May 5, 2020, Tubbs submitted another PPP application, this time regarding The Little Piglet Soap Company. Based on the false representations she made in the loan application, The Little Piglet Soap Company received a PPP loan for $414,375.
“This defendant took almost two million dollars that were intended to keep small businesses afloat during COVID-related shutdowns,” stated U.S. Attorney Hiland. “Hardworking Arkansans needed these funds to pay their employees and support their families, and we will not tolerate fraudsters who lie to obtain these funds and then use them for their personal enjoyment. We ask anyone with information on suspected PPP fraud to please report it.”
The indictment, which was returned by a grand jury on July 7, 2020, charges Tubbs with two counts of bank fraud, two counts of making a false statement on a loan application, and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction with proceeds of unlawful activity. Tubbs pleaded guilty today to one count of bank fraud in exchange for dismissal of the remaining charges.
Tubbs’ plea was accepted this afternoon by United States District Judge Brian S. Miller, who will sentence Tubbs at a later date. The FBI, the Small Business Administration – Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Pat Harris and Jamie Dempsey are prosecuting the case.
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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, is available online at