St. Peters Woman Admits $100,000 Pandemic Fraud
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri
ST. LOUIS – A woman from St. Peters, Missouri on Wednesday admitted defrauding a pandemic-era loan program out of $100,927.
Francheska D. Reese, 36, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to one count of wire fraud. She admitted that between March 30, 2020, and at least Jan. 24, 2023, she devised a scheme to defraud a Paycheck Protection Program lender. Reese submitted a fraudulent PPP loan application for 1st Stop Child Development Center LLC on Jan. 21, 2021. 1st Stop had never filed federal income or employment tax returns since it was registered with the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office by Reese in September of 2018. But Reese falsely claimed her company employed seven full-time employees who were paid a total of $40,371 per month. She also falsely claimed that she would use the loan, which was intended to save businesses during the pandemic, on payroll, rent, mortgage interest and utilities.
She transferred the $100,927 loan into her personal account and spent the money on personal retail and car expenses, among other things, her plea agreement says.
At her sentencing October 25, Reese could face up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 or both prison and a fine. She will also be ordered to repay the money.
The U.S. Secret Service investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Wiseman is prosecuting the case.
Anyone with information about pandemic fraud should call the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or report via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
Updated July 26, 2023