Federal Grand Jury Indicts Louisville Woman for CARES Act Fraud
Louisville, KY – A federal grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky returned an indictment on July 11, 2023, charging a local woman with four counts of wire fraud, one count of bank fraud, and two counts of money laundering related to fraud involving the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) financial assistance program.
U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky and Special Agent in Charge Kelly Moening of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) Great Lakes Field Division made the announcement.
According to the indictment, between June 18, 2020, and September 22, 2021, Darlene McCoy, 66, filed one fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application and three fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, resulting in the theft of $165,416. McCoy utilized the entities Letz Get It Crackin’, a Kentucky Limited Liability Company, and Darlene McCoy d/b/a Reds Creative Events, an unregistered entity, to file the applications. McCoy falsely exaggerated the number of employees and payroll expenses of Letz Get It Crackin’ and the gross receipts of Reds Creative Events in the fraudulent applications. McCoy further applied for forgiveness for all three of the PPP loans, falsely stating the amount that had been spent on payroll.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) PPP loans were designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses who were in operation on February 15, 2020, to keep their workers on the payroll. PPP loan proceeds were required to be used by the business on certain permissible expenses. Interest and principal on PPP loans could be entirely forgiven if the business spent the loan proceeds on the allowable expenses within a designated period and used a certain percentage of the PPP loan proceeds on payroll expenses.
McCoy made her initial court appearance on July 13, 2023, before a U.S. Magistrate Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. If convicted, McCoy faces a maximum sentence of 130 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. There is no parole in the federal system.
TIGTA is investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Elver is prosecuting 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 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.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.