Maryland Resident Sentenced to 5 Years Probation, Ordered to Pay Over $165,000 for Preparing and Submitting Fraudulent Applications for Cares Act Financial Assistance
According to court documents, ELEY used both word-of-mouth and text messages to solicit individuals interested in fraudulently obtaining money from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) program with her assistance. When a prospective applicant expressed interest, ELEY requested the applicant’s name, address, social security, and phone number, a copy of the front and back of the applicant’s driver’s license, a bank statement from 2020, and the routing and account number for the applicant’s bank account. ELEY then created a false and fraudulent loan application. ELEY falsely represented in the pertinent forms that the applicant had a sole proprietorship in the beauty industry that generated substantial income. ELEY also submitted false financial numbers overstating the gross receipts, expenses, and net income for the business. This resulted in the creation of a false federal tax Form 1040, Schedule C, that was accepted and processed by the online portal handling the application. In instances where the applicant actually received a small income from beauty industry work, ELEY knowingly and falsely inflated that income. Each of the above-described false representations constituted a misstatement that was material to the determination of the eligibility of the applicant and the loan amount the applicant would receive.
Once the loan was paid to the applicant, ELEY charged some applicants up to $5,000.00 for preparing and submitting the fraudulent PPP application. ELEY used this same scheme to file her own fraudulent application as well as the applications for at least seven (7) co-conspirators. This resulted in a loss to the Small Business Association of approximately $166,656.
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 United States Secret Service in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg, Chief of the Public Integrity Unit, was in charge of the prosecution.
Shane M. Jones
Public Information Officer
United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana
United States Department of Justice
Updated October 26, 2023