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Press Release

Franklin County Woman Sentenced to Two More Years in Prison for Committing Pandemic Loan Fraud After $727,000 Embezzlement

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge Matthew T. Schelp on Wednesday sentenced a woman from Franklin County, Missouri to two more years in prison for fraudulently applying for three Paycheck Protection Program loans after she had pleaded guilty to an unrelated $727,000 embezzlement case.

Judge Schelp on Wednesday called Christen Diane Schulte’s conduct “outrageous” and “very aggravating.” 

Schulte, now 37, had pleaded guilty and was awaiting sentencing on the embezzlement case in the spring of 2021 when she fraudulently applied for three PPP loans, designed to help save small businesses and jobs from economic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schulte lied on the loans when asked if she was facing or had been convicted of a felony, and when asked the same question about a felony involving fraud, bribery, embezzlement or a false statement in an application for a loan or for federal assistance. 

She also lied about the gross income for the “Mama Bear Cake Company.”

One application for a $13,691 loan was rejected due to her criminal history. A $13,566 loan was approved by a different financial institution. She then sought and received a “second draw” of $13,566 from that company, receiving the money on May 19, 2021.

Eight days later, Schulte was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison and ordered to repay $517,140 in the embezzlement case. She pleaded guilty in 2020 to two counts of wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of money laundering and admitted embezzling funds from her employer and other individuals and entities associated with her employer. 

Schulte pleaded guilty in September to three more counts of bank fraud in the new case. She was also ordered on Wednesday to repay the loan money.

The FBI investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Bateman is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 4, 2023

Financial Fraud