ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Latifa Brooks, a resident of McLean, has agreed to pay $107,347 to settle a civil fraud case alleging that she fraudulently applied for and received two Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and subsequently fraudulently obtained forgiveness on both loans.
On March 31, 2022, the United States filed a Complaint against Brooks under the False Claims Act (FCA) and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA). According to the allegations in the Complaint, in April 2021, Brooks obtained two PPP loans, totaling $42,601, based on her asserted status as an independent contractor and the sole proprietor of Superb Movers, Inc. The United States alleged Brooks listed false gross income amounts and submitted fake tax returns in support of the PPP applications. In September 2021, Brooks obtained forgiveness for both PPP loans through allegedly falsely certifying compliance with all PPP rules and requirements.
As a part of this resolution, Brooks agreed to repay $47,772 for the loan forgiveness amounts and processing fees that the Government paid because of Brooks’ allegedly false claims and statements, and an additional $59,575 to settle the United States’ claims for treble damages under the FCA and civil penalties under the FCA and alternatively the FIRREA. The Complaint filed by the United States is a result of EDVA’s ongoing effort to use data analysis to proactively identify fraudulently obtained PPP loans.
The resolutions obtained in this matter were the result of a coordinated effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Small Business Administration.
The matter was investigated by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Hochul and Krista Anderson.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
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 (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
The civil claims settled by this agreement are allegations only; there has been no determination of civil liability.
Related court documents and information from the civil lawsuit are available on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:22-cv-00359. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.