Atlanta, GA

Seventeen more people have been charged for involvement in a fraudulent scheme

Amy Cheribelle

ATLANTA, GA — 17 more people have been charged with a fraudulent scheme in Paycheck Protection Program or PPP loans. Obtained approximately $11.1 million, those people used the money to buy various luxury personal items, including vehicles and jewelry.

Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, Chris Hacker, said with severe economic problems faced by many business owners, these people took advantage of them by misdirecting millions of dollars of assistance money for their own interest. The FBI will ensure to do whatever they can to stop this so there’s no misuse of PPP funds anymore.

Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, SBA, OIG’s Eastern Region Special Agent in Charge, said what those people did is not acceptable. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of the US Attorney’s Office and all law enforcement partners, justice can be served for these fraudulent acts.

The defendants certified in the loan application that the loans money will be used to pay salaries of their business employees, mortgage interest payments, lease payments, and utility payments.

However, none of their statements is true. The business has neither employees nor payroll. All the business payroll spreadsheets have been fabricated by the defendants to get the PPP loan.

After they got the loan, more than $5.5 million was transferred into accounts controlled by Darrel Thomas for rental payments and payroll. However, based on the investigation, none of the businesses used the loan for business transactions, and instead used nearly $4 million of the funds for buying various personal items.

Check out the full report here.

If you have any information regarding fraud involving COVID-19, please report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or filling in an online form here.

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