Missouri Woman Accused of Multiple Pandemic Frauds
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri
ST. LOUIS – A woman from St. Peters, Missouri has been indicted in federal court and accused of fraudulently obtaining a total of $137,000 during the COVID-19 pandemic via two assistance programs.
Regina Brand, 51, was indicted in U.S. District Court in St. Louis April 5 on three counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. She pleaded not guilty April 13 and is next scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.
The indictment alleges that between Sept. 1, 2021, and at least March 30, 2022, Brand submitted at least 12 fraudulent applications for rental assistance under the Missouri State Assistance for Housing Relief Program to the Missouri Housing Development Commission. The program was intended to provide emergency assistance to landlords and renters to prevent a wave of evictions during the pandemic. Brand lied on each application, listing two fake landlords, Angels Voices and Brand Construction, and submitting fraudulent lease agreements, the indictment says.
She received a total of $96,825 in assistance.
Brand also submitted several fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program loans between April 1, 2020 and at least August 25, 2021, the indictment says. In one example listed in the indictment, Brand submitted a fraudulent application for a loan for Angels Voices and received $40,535.55. The loan application contained false and inflated information about payroll and the number of employees, and Brand spent the money for personal and vehicle expenses, the indictment says.
The wire fraud charges carry a potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a penalty of at least two years in prison consecutive to any other charge.
Charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Wiseman is prosecuting the case.
Updated May 1, 2023