Temple Terrace Woman Sentenced To Two Years In Prison For Bank Fraud Involving COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell has sentenced Bridgitte Keim (52, Temple Terrace) to 24 months in federal prison for bank fraud. The Court also ordered Keim to forfeit $7,500, which was traceable to proceeds of the offense. Keim had pleaded guilty on January 5, 2022.
According to court documents, between April and May 2021, Keim defrauded a federally insured financial institution and the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) by submitting false and fraudulent loan applications and supporting documentation for federally guaranteed Payment Protection Program (“PPP”) loans that were designed to assist businesses suffering adverse economic effects from the COVID-19 pandemic. Keim recruited family members to provide their personal information in exchange for free “COVID money.” Keim prepared and submitted false and fraudulent PPP loan applications to the financial institution on behalf of her relatives in the names of fictitious businesses, knowing that her relatives did not have existing businesses, did not have employees, had no business income, and had no payroll expenses as required by the SBA to qualify for PPP loans. In furtherance of the scheme, Keim also impersonated the family members in communications with the financial institution.
This case was investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Small Business Administration – Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor.