Louisiana Woman Charged with Cares Act Fraud
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that CHANEL GALLE, of New Orleans, LA, age 44, was indicted on February 10, 2023 by a federal grand jury for two counts of making false statements related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
On March 27, 2020, The CARES Act became effective and established several new temporary programs and provided for the expansion of others to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Among these programs, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) authorized forgivable loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to small businesses to retain workers and maintain payroll, make mortgage interest payments, lease payments, and utility payments. The PPP allows the interest and principal on the PPP loan to be forgiven if the business spends the loan proceeds on these expense items within a designated period of time after receiving the proceeds and uses at least a certain percentage of the PPP loan proceeds on payroll expenses.
According to the charging documents, GALLE made false statements to an approved lender on or about February 18, 2021, for the purpose of fraudulently obtaining a PPP loan. GALLE falsely claimed in her PPP application that she had a certain number of employees and incurred payroll expenses for an LLC called Coco’s Companion Care. GALLE thereafter received approximately $20,833.00 based upon the misrepresentations. GALLE then made false statements to an approved lender on or about March 30, 2021, for the purpose of fraudulently obtaining a second PPP loan. GALLE received approximately $20,832.00 after falsely claiming that she operated a beautician service.
GALLE faces a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to $250,000 in fines, and up to three years of supervised release for each false statements count. There is also a $100 mandatory special assessment fee per count due after conviction. U.S. Attorney Evans reiterated that an indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
For more information on the Department of Justice’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus. Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Rivera of the Financial Crimes Unit is in charge of the prosecution.
Updated February 14, 2023