Skip to main content
Press Release

Three St. Louis Area Residents Accused of Pandemic Fraud

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

ST. LOUIS – The final defendant of three indicted in July and accused of defrauding pandemic assistance programs appeared in court Thursday to plead not guilty to charges.

Shanay Bolden, 32, of Florissant, Shonta Woods, 38, of St. Louis County, and Ashley Luckett, 32, of St. Louis, were each indicted July 12 on one count of wire fraud conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud. Bolden faces an additional wire fraud count.

Woods appeared in U.S. District Court in St. Louis Thursday, where she pleaded not guilty. Bolden pleaded not guilty July 27 and Luckett pleaded not guilty July 14.

The indictment alleges two fraudulent schemes. In the first, Bolden submitted at least eight applications to Missouri’s State Assistance for Housing Relief Program, which was intended to aid renters and landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic, the indictment says. Bolden falsely claimed to be a landlord and paid Woods to electronically submit the applications, then paid kickbacks to Woods and her purported tenants, the indictment says. In addition to the kickbacks, Bolden spent part of the $126,500 she received in the scheme on personal items, including purchases that she made at Saks Fifth Avenue, the indictment says.

Woods submitted more than 12 fraudulent rental assistance applications on behalf of Bolden, Luckett and herself, the indictment says, receiving tens of thousands of dollars in return. At least two were submitted on behalf of Luckett, who received $20,400, the indictment says.

The second scheme alleged in the indictment involved the Paycheck Protection Program, which was aimed at helping small businesses and their employees. Bolden falsely claimed to own a lawn services company and Luckett falsely claimed to own a catering company, receiving PPP loans of $18,750 and $20,107 respectively, the indictment says.

Each charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both prison and a fine. 

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 U.S. Secret Service investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Wiseman is prosecuting the case.

Updated September 1, 2023

Financial Fraud