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Press Release

Georgia woman sentenced to nearly four years in prison for multi-million dollar COVID-19 relief fraud

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

ATLANTA – Lakisha Swope has been sentenced to federal prison for obtaining more than $3.6 million by submitting fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) applications.

“Congress enacted the Paycheck Protection Program to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Swope used the program to commit a nationwide fraud scheme resulting in a nearly four-million-dollar theft of COVID relief funds,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Her sentence reflects the significance of her criminal conduct and demonstrates the dedication of our office, and federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, to ensure that individuals who seek to exploit this critical economic safety net are held accountable for their crimes.”

“While businesses were suffering and trying their best to make it through the pandemic, Swope chose greed,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Her greed impacted every tax-paying citizen. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will persist in unraveling these fraud schemes and bring criminals to justice.”

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: Lakisha Swope operated a nationwide scheme seeking to obtain fraudulent PPP funds. The investigation revealed that dozens of false PPP applications were filed from Swope’s residence.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020.  It is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the PPP. In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding. Additional funding was authorized by Congress in December 2020.

The PPP allows qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of one percent. PPP loan proceeds must be used by businesses on payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.  The PPP allows the interest and principal to be forgiven if businesses spend the proceeds on these expenses within eight weeks of receipt and use at least 75 percent of the forgiven amount for payroll.

But in this case, FBI agents, while executing a search warrant of Swope’s residence, seized voluminous documents showing her role in managing a conspiracy to defraud the program, including false PPP applications in the names of dozens of businesses.

To carry out this scheme, Swope flew around the country, including to Texas, Missouri, and Florida, to collect loan fees from business owners she was using to file these false PPP applications. Swope’s criminal conduct led to banks making $3,626,961 in fraudulent PPP payments. Swope used the fraudulently obtained funds on luxury clothing, restaurants, hotels, and vacation rentals.

Lakisha Swope, 45, of Suwanee, Georgia, was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $3,626,961 in restitution to the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas J. Krepp 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 August 9, 2023