Las Vegas Woman Pleads Guilty To Committing COVID Relief Fraud While On Federal Probation
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nevada
LAS VEGAS – A Las Vegas woman pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Cristina D. Silva to filing fraudulent applications seeking thousands of dollars in loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
According to court documents, Mikaela Marie Cuevas (24) — while on probation for assaulting a federal law enforcement officer — submitted at least two fraudulent loan applications and received thousands of dollars of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding she was not eligible to receive. As part of the scheme, Cuevas submitted PPP loan applications in the name of a fake management consulting business, falsely claiming gross annual revenues of $106,000 from the non-existent business. Shortly after receiving the PPP funds, she filed fraudulent loan forgiveness applications, seeking to have her responsibility to re-pay the stolen loans absolved. In total, Cuevas caused a loss of about $47,000.
Cuevas pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. She is scheduled to be sentenced on May 25, 2023, and faces a maximum statutory sentence of up to 20 years in prison. In addition to time in prison, Cuevas faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada; Special Agent in Charge Spencer L. Evans for the FBI; Special Agent in Charge Weston King for the Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General’s (SBA OIG) Western Region Office; Special Agent in Charge Albert Childress for the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS CI); Acting Special Agent in Charge Cory Nootnagel for the Western Region, Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (FRB-OIG) made the announcement.
The FBI, SBA OIG, IRS CI, FRB-OIG, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Frayn prosecuted the case.
In May 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.
Updated February 24, 2023