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Press Release

Seattle woman sentenced to one year of home confinement for defrauding COVID assistance program

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Money that was supposed to be used for company payroll, went for luxury shopping sprees, collectable car, and bitcoin speculation

The sentence in this case was updated on April 3, 2024

Seattle – A 62-year-old Seattle woman was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to home confinement with location monitoring as a condition of a 3-year term of probation for her scheme to steal nearly half a million dollars in COVID 19 benefits, announced U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Danni Walker was indicted on six counts of wire fraud in July 2022. She pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in August 2023. Prosecutors sought a 21-month custodial sentence, while the United States Probation Office recommended a custodial sentence of 12 months and 1 day. At today’s sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Lauren King said, “this is a very serious offense” and noted the defendant’s use of pandemic relief funds for “lavish expenditures” that she “flaunted on social media.”

“This defendant took resources intended to help businesses struggling to stay afloat in the pandemic, and used them for a high-end car, luxury travel and shopping sprees and unsuccessful trading in cryptocurrency,” said U.S. Attorney Gorman. “Some businesses that needed loans did not get them, because Ms. Walker and others like her committed fraud on government programs.”

According to records filed in the case, between April 2020 and March 2021, Walker used false information to apply for and obtain $473,082 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through the Small Business Administration. Walker submitted the applications on behalf of three different companies, only one of which was in operation, and none of which had the employees she claimed in her applications. Instead of using the PPP money for payroll and other legitimate business expenses, as intended by the program, Walker used it, among other things, to purchase a Jaguar coup; spent $34,000 on a luxury vacation to New York – including a Louis Vuitton shopping spree -; and invested unsuccessfully in cryptocurrency. She also gave large cash gifts to family and friends.

Walker also attempted to obtain two additional PPP loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA) totaling approximately $165,000. However, SBA caught the fraud and those loans were declined.

In asking for a 21-month prison sentence, prosecutors highlighted that Walker’s theft of tax dollars meant others did not get the financial support they needed. “This was a calculated and sophisticated offense…. Over a period of approximately 11 months, through six fraudulent PPP loan applications, Walker stole close to a half million dollars in pandemic relief funds. These funds could and should have been provided to businesses that actually qualified for them so those business could pay their employees and other approved business expenses– i.e., to stay afloat during a historic crisis,” Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Jensen wrote in her sentencing memo.

The case was investigated by the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG) and the FBI.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michelle Jensen and Sok Jiang.

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

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:


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated April 3, 2024