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Woman sentenced for seeking COVID-19 relief loans for fake businesses

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Posted at 3:58 PM, Dec 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-02 15:58:53-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- D’Ericka Lee, 29, was sentenced to a year of probation after pleading guilty to wire fraud and using fake documents in order to fraudulently obtain COVID-19 related disaster loans.

According to court documents, Lee filed three separate loan applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lee fraudulently represented to the Small Business Administration that she ran a retail clothing business, a daycare and a medical services business that each employed various individuals and generated revenue income.

These businesses did not exist and the business addresses listed were personal residences.

“This defendant repeatedly lied to take advantage of disaster loan programs that were a vital lifeline to those actually entitled to them,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Our U.S. Attorney’s Office and our federal law enforcement partners are dedicated to protecting these important federal programs from waste, fraud, and abuse. The conviction and sentence imposed today demonstrate that those who break the law to defraud the public will be held accountable.”

“This sentence illustrates the FBI’s commitment to combatting COVID-19 related fraud and ensuring those who fraudulently profited from the pandemic are held accountable,” said Herbert J. Stapleton, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Indianapolis Field Office. “Stealing money meant to help those who were vulnerable and in need during those unprecedented times was reprehensible and will not be tolerated.”

The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker and as part of the sentence, Judge Barker ordered that Lee pay $10,000 in restitution to the Small Business Administration.

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 https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form [protect2.fireeye.com]