Georgia Woman Sentenced to 3 Years Over a Covid Fraud Scheme

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U.S.|A Georgia pistillate is sentenced to 3 years implicit a Covid fraud scheme.

The Paycheck Protection Program indebtedness   application. The programme  has been highly   susceptible to fraud.
Credit...Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Mike Ives

  • Jan. 5, 2022, 6:02 a.m. ET

A pistillate successful Georgia who fraudulently obtained much than $6 cardinal successful Covid alleviation wealth was sentenced to much than 3 years successful prison connected Tuesday, the Justice Department said.

The lawsuit is the latest illustration of Americans misusing the Paycheck Protection Program, a portion of the $2.2 cardinal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act that Congress passed successful March 2020.

In the latest case, the Georgia woman, Hunter VanPelt, pleaded blameworthy to slope fraud successful August aft submitting six indebtedness applications for a full of much than $7.9 cardinal connected behalf of companies that she owned oregon controlled, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors accidental that Ms. VanPelt, 49, whose ineligible sanction was Ellen Corkrum until 2016, lied astir payroll expenses and the fig of radical her companies employed. She besides submitted fraudulent taxation records, payroll reports and slope statements, they said. Her lawyer could not beryllium instantly contacted for remark overnight.

The Justice Department said connected Tuesday that it had recovered astir $2.1 cardinal of the $6 cardinal that Ms. VanPelt received done the program. It said a slope had besides seized and returned an further $1.6 million.

The elephantine indebtedness program, which ran intermittently from April 2020 to May 2021, relied connected banks and different lenders. To velocity the lending process, the national authorities waived overmuch of the vetting that lenders traditionally bash connected concern loans.

The programme has been highly susceptible to fraud. Researchers astatine the University of Texas astatine Austin estimated successful August that astir $76 cardinal of its $800 cardinal successful loans might person been taken improperly. (They besides made a much blimpish estimation of $38 billion.)

The Justice Department said connected Tuesday that it had prosecuted much than 150 defendants truthful acold and seized much than $75 cardinal successful currency derived from fraudulent loans done the program, on with properties and luxury items.

Last month, a erstwhile New York Jets wide receiver, Joshua J. Bellamy, was sentenced to 37 months successful situation aft helium fraudulently obtained much than $1.2 million done the Paycheck Protection Program for a institution that helium owned.

Prosecutors said that Mr. Bellamy had spent much than $100,00 of the funds connected luxury goods from Dior, Gucci and different brands. He pleaded blameworthy successful June to conspiracy to perpetrate ligament fraud.

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