woman convicted of running Paycheck Protection Program loan scheme | USAO-NDOK
A Tulsa woman who led two others in a scheme to seek nearly $800,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans backed by the Small Business Administration under the CARES Act was convicted in court on Tuesday federal government, US Attorney Clint Johnson said.
U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell sentenced Aleta Necole Thomas, 43, to 30 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. In total, Thomas and his two co-defendants will pay restitution in the amount of $774,753.50. The government previously seized $209,991.11 from bank accounts held by Thomas under federal seizure warrants, which will be used for restitution.
“Individuals who steal funds from federal programs intended to help Americans in times of need will be brought to justice,” U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said. “Aleta Thomas’ 30-month prison sentence should serve as a warning to other like-minded criminals that white-collar crime doesn’t pay.”
“This conviction sends a clear message that those who defraud the federal government of pandemic relief funds for their own personal gain will be brought to justice,” said Cory Nootnagel, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Western Region. , Office of the Inspector General of Council. governors of the Federal Reserve and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “I want to thank all of our federal law enforcement partners for their hard work that led to this outcome.”
Thomas previously pleaded guilty to two counts of make false statements to a financial institution.
In her plea agreement, Thomas said that on May 27, 2020, she submitted false statements and reports to Cross River Bank when she applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. Thomas submitted a borrower application form incorrectly stating that “Coming Correct Community Ministry” had an average monthly payroll of $35,000 and had been in business since February 15, 2020. Thomas further claimed that she had 26 employees for whom it paid payroll taxes or independent contractors as reports in IRS Form 1099-MISC. Thomas also falsely certified that all information in the application and supporting documents was correct and submitted documents that included fake bank statements and fake 2019 IRS Schedule C (Form 1040).
Thomas further stated that on June 16, 2020, she submitted false statements and reports to First Electronic Bank when she applied for another Paycheck Protection Program loan where she made similar claims.
Thomas will report to a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility on July 20, 2022.
The other two defendants charged and convicted of participating in the scheme were Katrina West, 39, and Pepper Jones, 42.
See the press release regarding the three defendants’ plea agreements here.
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of Consumer Financial Protection Office of the Inspector General; U.S. Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration; The Office of the Inspector General of the Small Business Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are the investigative agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristin Harrington and Cymetra Williams are pursuing the case.
To learn more about the Department of Justice’s COVID response and to report COVID-19 fraud, visit: https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus. For more information about the Criminal Division’s enforcement efforts on PPP fraud, including court documents from important cases, visit the following website: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/ ppp-fraud.