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Press Release

Former federal correctional officer sentenced to prison for Paycheck Protection Program fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA - Harrescia Hopkins has been sentenced to five months in prison for fraudulently obtaining two Paycheck Protection Program loans while employed as a correctional officer by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Hopkins obtained the loans in the name of a business that did not exist and used the money on a cruise and other vacations, as well as restaurants and a new SUV.

“While employed in a position of trust, Hopkins lied to steal emergency money intended for businesses suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “We will vigorously prosecute people who exploited these programs particularly when such fraud is committed by government employees and officials.”

“Hopkins’s fraud scheme took money earmarked for those who were legitimately struggling to make ends meet during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and she greedily used those funds for personal entertainment and luxury purchases. This sentencing should send a clear message to fraudsters everywhere: you will be brought to justice,” said James F. Boyersmith, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Miami Field Office.

“OIG will identify and bring to justice wrongdoers who sought personal gain by theft of taxpayers’ funds,” said SBA OIG’s Eastern Region Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite. “I want to thank the U.S. Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and pursuit of justice.”

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act was a federal law enacted in or about March 2020 that was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief that the CARES Act provided was the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for payroll, mortgage interest, rent/lease, and utilities through a program referred to as the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). Congress has since authorized additional PPP funding.

Hopkins, while a Federal Bureau of Prisons correctional officer, applied for two PPP loans for $19,100 each in August 2020 and January 2021. The PPP loan applications were purportedly to help a business named Hopkins Towing and Storage, which she claimed had a gross income of $100,525 in 2019. In reality, Hopkins Towing and Storage was not a real and functioning business. Hopkins also obtained a $4,000 loan from the United States Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Hopkins caused the loan proceeds to be deposited into her personal checking account. Hopkins then spent the money on personal expenses – including a Caribbean cruise and other travel, a new Chevrolet Blazer, landscaping for her house, restaurant meals, and retail goods.

Harrescia Hopkins, 34, of Conley, Georgia, was sentenced on June 8, 2023, by U.S. District Judge Sarah E. Geraghty to five months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release. As part of her sentence, Hopkins was ordered to repay all three loans in full in the amount of $46,004.04. Hopkins pleaded guilty to wire fraud on December 20, 2022.

This case was investigated by the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General, and the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Garrett L. Bradford, Chief of the Public Integrity & Civil Rights Section, prosecuted the case.

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:

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated June 16, 2023