Georgia Couple Sentenced for Paycheck Protection Program Fraud
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska
United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that Jeremy D. Sanders, 32, and Lakeda R. Sanders, 27, husband and wife, both of Newnan, Georgia, were sentenced on March 10, 2023, in federal court in Omaha, Nebraska, by Chief United States District Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. Jeremy Sanders was sentenced to four years of probation, including three months of home confinement, and was ordered to pay restitution of $21,304.88. Lakeda Sanders was sentenced to four years of probation, including six months of home confinement, and was ordered to pay restitution of $27,793.79. Both pled guilty in December 2022 to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud.
During 2020 and 2021, both Jeremy Sanders and Lakeda Sanders submitted or caused to be submitted applications for Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans. The PPP loan program was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, which was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both Jeremy and Lakeda Sanders worked with others to prepare and submit loan applications that misrepresented payroll for their purported businesses and sole proprietorship. The businesses in fact had no employees, and the PPP applications were supported by false tax documents. Jeremy Sanders and an Omaha-based co-conspirator submitted fraudulent applications for loans totaling approximately $41,290, and he obtained $20,690. Lakeda Sanders and a co-conspirator submitted fraudulent applications for loans totaling approximately $220,000, and she obtained $24,166.
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 https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
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: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Updated March 14, 2023