A Georgia woman is accused of defrauding the United States out of more than $2 million in COVID-19 relief funding, officials said.
The 39-year-old from Dacula, Georgia, was charged July 14 with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, seven counts of wire fraud, false document, money laundering conspiracy and false statement, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.
Feds say that between May 2020 and April 2021, the woman submitted dozens of fraudulent applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans to the United States Small Business Administration. She used her name, the names of her businesses and the names of others on her applications, according to an indictment.
Officials say that co-conspirators paid the woman to submit false applications for EIDL funds and Paycheck Protection Program funds on their behalf.
After receiving the funds, the woman used her business accounts to disguise the money’s origins before sending it to a co-conspirator or spending it, the indictment says.
The woman used portions of the earnings “to her own personal benefit, including spending thousands of dollars at luxury stores and paying for a cosmetic surgery procedure for herself,” according to the indictment. In August 2020, Parker used $13,955 of the illegally-obtained funds for a “breast augmentation procedure and abdominoplasty with flank liposuction, feds said.”
“The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was funded to help small businesses struggling from the effects of a global pandemic,” David H. Estes, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said in the release. “In far too many cases, however, it has been exploited by those seeking to milk these relief programs for their personal profit.”
Information on an attorney who could comment on the woman’s behalf was not available July 14.
If convicted, the woman faces up to 30 years in federal prison and up to five years of supervised release, feds say.