Two from St. Louis Area Accused of Nearly $500,000 Pandemic Loan Fraud
ST. LOUIS – Two people from the St. Louis, Missouri area have been indicted and accused of fraudulently obtaining nearly $500,000 in pandemic business loans.
Pamela S. Hubbard, 45, of St. Louis, and Irwin Coats, 43, of Florissant, were each indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They each appeared in court Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The indictment says that during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hubbard and Coats hatched a scheme to fraudulently obtain Paycheck Protection Program loans that were intended to help struggling small businesses. The pair planned to use the money to open a “Wing Strip” restaurant in Florissant, the indictment says.
On May 8, 2020, Coats applied for a $53,125 loan in the name of Abounding Protection LLC, a company he set up in 2007. Coats falsely claimed that the company had 12 employees and an average monthly payroll of $21,250 when there were no employees, wages, company operations or revenue, the indictment says.
On June 11, 2020, Hubbard electronically submitted a PPP loan application for Star Shyne LLC, a company she helped set up in 2019. She made false claims about employees and payroll, and submitted fake business, tax and lease paperwork and an altered check to bolster her claim, the indictment says. She eventually received $371,245.
On March 5, 2021, Coats submitted another application for Abounding Protection, seeking and receiving $24,166 with more false claims, the indictment says.
Hubbard and Coats used the money to construct the Wing Strip and for improvements on a condominium in Florissant, the indictment says.
The indictment seeks the forfeiture of any assets linked to the fraud, including money from the sale of the condominium.
The conspiracy charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.
Charges set forth in a criminal complaint 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 Kyle Bateman is prosecuting the case.
To report suspected pandemic fraud, go to the Justice Department’s National Center for Disaster Fraud at www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud or call the Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721.