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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 9, 2021

Donna J. Clark Indicted for Fraud and Money Laundering in COVID-19-Related PPP Loan Scheme

On August 9, 2021, Donna J. Clark, 64, of Benton, TN, was arrested and arraigned on an indictment charging her with wire fraud, money laundering, and operating an unlicensed money transmittal business, commonly known as a “money mule” operation. Clark pleaded not guilty to the charges, and trial has been set for October 5, 2021, at 9:00 a.m., before the Honorable Charles E. Atchley, Jr., in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

According to court documents filed by the United States, from October 2020 to July 2021, Clark participated in a scheme in which she received, deposited, transferred, and transmitted money obtained as part of fraudulent schemes – including fraud related to the receipt of a COVID-19-related PPP loan – in order to add layers to the money trail from victims to the criminal actors for whom Clark laundered money.

Clark faces a possible sentence of up to 30 years’ imprisonment on the wire fraud count, up to 10 years’ imprisonment on the money laundering count, and up to 5 years’ imprisonment for operating an unlicensed money transmittal business, along with significant fines, restitution, and forfeiture of property.

Assistant United States Attorney Steven Neff represents the United States.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Coronavirus Fraud Task Force.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Contact: 
Rachelle Barnes Public Affairs Officer (865) 545-4167
Updated August 10, 2021