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Press Release

Small Business Administration Employee Sentenced in Covid Relief Fraud

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

OXFORD – A Marshall County man and employee of the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) was sentenced yesterday to 62 months in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud the SBA of more than $11 million.

According to court documents, Lakeith M. Faulkner, 31, of Holly Springs, was an employee of the SBA and used his position to assist borrowers in submitting over $11 Million worth of fraudulent loan applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDL”), which were intended to help small businesses recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In return for his assistance in submitting the fraudulent loan applications, those borrowers paid Faulkner and his co-defendant, Norman Beckwood, $2.3 Million.

On December 7, 2022, Faulkner entered a plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. On May 24, 2023, Chief U.S. District Judge Debra M. Brown sentenced Faulkner to serve 62 months in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release. In addition to prison time, Faulkner was ordered to pay $10,620,452.26 in restitution to the SBA.

On January 17, 2023, Norman Beckwood, Faulkner’s co-defendant, entered a plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  Beckwood is scheduled to be sentenced on August 15, 2023.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Clayton A. Dabbs and Parker King of the Northern District of Mississippi are prosecuting the case.

The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Updated May 26, 2023