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Press Release

Cincinnati man sentenced to one year & one day in prison for pandemic relief fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

CINCINNATI – Marcus Hawkins, 35, of Cincinnati, was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to 12 months and one day in prison for COVID-19 relief fraud.

As part of his conviction, Hawkins will pay $60,000 in restitution to the Small Business Administration.

According to court documents, Hawkins applied for several loans in July 2020 under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which was expanded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide payments for businesses temporarily experiencing a loss due to the pandemic.

At the time, Hawkins was self-employed, occasionally doing business as DSR Studio or DSR Studios.

In one application, Hawkins claimed his business – DSR Studio – was in the agriculture industry and employed 10 workers.

Less than three weeks later, Hawkins submitted another false application, claiming his business – DSR Studios – was in the entertainment services industry and employed five workers. In reality, Hawkins did not have any employees. In both applications, Hawkins fraudulently inflated the gross revenues of the business.

The Small Business Administration initially funded an advance in the amount of $10,000 for the business, but later determined the applications were duplicative and likely fraudulent and declined to fund the requested loan amounts. Hawkins also fraudulently applied for a loan under the entity name Road Runner Development LLC and received $50,000.

Hawkins pleaded guilty in July 2022 to making false statements to the federal government.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; and other members of the Financial Crimes Working Group Pandemic Fraud Committee announced the sentence imposed by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Susan J. Dlott. Assistant United States Attorney Ebunoluwa A. Taiwo is representing the United States in this case.

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Updated May 11, 2023

Financial Fraud