Baker Woman Sentenced to Federal Prison for Wire Fraud and Making False Statements in Connection with CARES Act COVID-19 Pandemic Assistance
United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced that U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles sentenced Casondra Reagan, age 44, of Denham Springs, to 15 months in federal prison following her conviction for conspiracy to commit fraud connected to major disaster declaration emergency benefits. The Court further sentenced Reagan to serve three years of supervised release following her term of imprisonment and pay restitution in the amount of $50,000.
Following the 2016 flooding that affected 12 parishes in south Louisiana, the Small Business Administration (SBA) made low interest loans available to people who had sustained damage to their residences as a result of the flood. The loans came with caveat that the funds must be used to repair or replace property damaged by the flood.
According to admissions made as part of her guilty plea, Reagan and another agreed to apply for an SBA loan for their residence damaged by the 2016 flood and planned to use the loan to pay off other loans they already had. At no point did they intend to use the SBA loan to repair or replace things damaged by the flood.
Reagan and another applied for and were approved for a $92,500 SBA loan for their Denham Spring residence. SBA dispersed over half the loan funds to Reagan. The loan funds were spent on a trip for four to Disney World, fast food restaurants, gym membership fees, etc. No funds were used to repair or place flood damaged property, nor were any payments made on the loan itself.
U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “Federal disaster assistance funds are funds dedicated to assist those affected by a disaster. When these funds are stolen, not only is the federal government victimized, but also the true disaster victims who rely on these funds to return their lives to pre-disaster normalcy. My office will continue to work effortlessly with our law enforcement partners to prosecute and hold accountable those who steal from the U.S. taxpayers for their own personal gain.”
“SBA’s Disaster Assistance Program is intended to aid recovery for individuals and businesses that are victims of disasters,” said SBA OIG’s Central Region Special Agent-in-Charge Sharon Johnson. “SBA OIG will relentlessly pursue evidence of misuse of those funds for personal gain. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and pursuit of justice.”
This matter was investigated by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Thornhill.