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Press Release

Lehighton Business Owner Pleads Guilty To Submitting False Covid-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Application

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Nora Barile, age 43, of Lehighton, PA, pleaded guilty on September 20, 2023, before United States District Judge Malachy E. Mannion, to wire fraud in connection with her submission of a false COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application.   

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, the criminal Information to which Barile pleaded guilty alleges that on dates in May 2020 and June 2022, on behalf of her business Helping Hands Cleaning Services and Home Improvement, Barile submitted to the United States Small Business Association (“SBA”) a false EIDL application (with amended and supplemental filings) containing material misrepresentations.  In reliance on her certification that she would use the EIDL funds for business purposes, the SBA awarded Barile approximately $67,400.00 in COVID-19 relief funds over the two-year period.  Barile acknowledged that she used these funds for purely personal expenses.  Pursuant to the terms of her plea agreement with the United States, Barile agreed to make full restitution to the SBA.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – Philadelphia Division.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffery St John.

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

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:

The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is 20 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

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Updated September 22, 2023