Husband And Wife Are Sentenced To Prison For Stealing $200,000 From A High School Booster Club
Husband was also sentenced for obtaining fraudulent COVID-19 relief loans and using a portion to cover up the theft
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The former president of a Charlotte high school Booster Club and his wife were sentenced to prison today for stealing more than $239,000 from the organization. The husband was also sentenced for obtaining over $236,000 in COVID-19 relief funds to cover up the theft, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
Anthony Sharper, 42, was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a money judgement of $310,832.80. Deana Sharper, 47, also of Charlotte, was ordered to serve 21 months in prison and two years of supervised release and was ordered to pay a money judgment of $239,742.80.
Michael C. Scherck, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) which oversees Charlotte, and Donald “Trey” Eakins, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, Charlotte Field Office (IRS-CI) join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing between 2017 and June 2020, Anthony Sharper and Deana Sharper executed a scheme to defraud and embezzle at least $239,000 from a Charlotte-area high school Athletic Booster Club by writing checks to themselves for purported reimbursement, wiring funds directly to their personal bank account, and using the Booster Club’s debit cards and credit card to pay for personal expenditures. Court documents show that, Anthony Sharper, who is a certified public accountant, also committed tax fraud by failing to report any of the embezzled funds on the couple’s joint 2018 and 2019 tax returns filed with the IRS.
According to court records, to cover up the theft and to enrich himself, between March and May 2020, Anthony Sharper submitted three fraudulent applications for federal COVID-19 relief funds, including two fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications, one in the name of the Booster Club and one in the name of his accounting firm, A. Sharper CPA, PLLC, and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application to the Small Business Administration (SBA) on behalf of his CPA firm. All three applications contained false information, including fake revenues and fake payroll and employment data. As a result of the fraudulent applications, Anthony Sharper obtained more than $236,000 in COVID-19 relief funds intended for existing businesses harmed by the coronavirus pandemic. After receiving the loan proceeds, Anthony Sharper used the funds to pay for personal expenditures and to cover up the couple’s theft of the Booster Club’s funds.
Anthony Sharper previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud, making a false statement to a financial institution, engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property, and tax fraud. Deana Sharper pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Both defendants were released on bond and will be ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving their sentence upon designation of a federal facility.
The FBI, USPIS, and IRS-CI investigated the case. The prosecution is handled by Assistant United States Attorney Caryn Finley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.
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 Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form. Members of the public in the Western District of North Carolina are also encouraged to call 704-344-6222 to reach their local Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator.