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Case Number: 1:21-cr-00072
Judge: Thomas W. Thrash, Jr.
Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Fulton County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Atlanta
Defendant's Attorney: Mark Campbell
Description: Atlanta, Georgia criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) applications fraud.
Lakisha Swope operated a nationwide scheme seeking to obtain fraudulent PPP funds. The investigation revealed that dozens of false PPP applications were filed from Swope’s residence.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020. It is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the PPP. In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding. Additional funding was authorized by Congress in December 2020.
The PPP allows qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of one percent. PPP loan proceeds must be used by businesses on payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. The PPP allows the interest and principal to be forgiven if businesses spend the proceeds on these expenses within eight weeks of receipt and use at least 75 percent of the forgiven amount for payroll.
But in this case, FBI agents, while executing a search warrant of Swope’s residence, seized voluminous documents showing her role in managing a conspiracy to defraud the program, including false PPP applications in the names of dozens of businesses.
To carry out this scheme, Swope flew around the country, including to Texas, Missouri, and Florida, to collect loan fees from business owners she was using to file these false PPP applications. Swope’s criminal conduct led to banks making $3,626,961 in fraudulent PPP payments. Swope used the fraudulently obtained funds on luxury clothing, restaurants, hotels, and vacation rentals.
Lakisha Swope, 45, of Suwanee, Georgia, was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $3,626,961 in restitution to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas J. Krepp prosecuted the case.
18:371 CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 46 months in prison, followed by 16 months of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $3.626 million in restitution.