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Case Number: 1:23-cr-00074
Judge: Nina Y. Wang
Court: United States District Court for the District of Colorado (Denver County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Denver
Defendant's Attorney: Jason Flores-Williams
Description: Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with receiving more than $3.3 million of fraudulent COVID-19 loans.
On March 27, 2020, the President of the United States signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, which provided emergency assistance to small business owners suffering adverse economic effects caused by the Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic. Two sources of funding for small businesses were the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDL”) program. The CARES Act mandated that only businesses in operation on February 15, 2020, for PPP, or before February 1, 2020, for EIDL, were eligible under the programs. In addition, the CARES Act authorized the Small Business Administration to issue advances of up to $10,000 to small businesses, known as Economic Injury Disaster Grants (“EIDG”). The amount of the EIDG was determined by the number of employees the applicant certified having. The EIDGs did not need to be repaid.
Beginning in June 2020, and continuing through January 2022, the Dejane Reaniece Lattany prepared and submitted fraudulent EIDL applications to the Small Business Administration on behalf of business entities that she purportedly owned. In these fraudulent EIDL applications, Lattany made false statements regarding the entities’ number of employees, gross revenues, and cost of goods sold; she further falsely certified that the information provided in the EIDL applications was true and accurate and that the funds would be used to pay payroll and other permissible expenses when, in fact, she used the bulk of the proceeds for her personal benefit. The Small Business Administration approved and funded five EIDL applications and three EIDGs for a total of $430,000 in EIDLs and $20,000 in EIDGs. From June 2020 through December 2021, Lattany submitted fraudulent PPP applications to participating lenders on behalf of business entities that she purportedly controlled and obtained $2,887,976.94 in PPP loans as a result of the scheme. These PPP applications contained a number of false and fraudulent certifications and representations regarding Lattany’s ownership of other businesses, as well as the businesses’ average monthly payroll and number of employees. Lattany falsely represented that all PPP funds would be used to pay eligible business expenses, when, in fact, the bulk of the proceeds were used for her personal benefit. She also submitted false and fraudulent documentation in support of the PPP applications to the participating lenders. Lattany also sought loan forgiveness for PPP loans by submitting loan forgiveness applications. In total, $3,337,976.94 of PPP, EIDL, and EIDG proceeds were paid out as a result of the scheme.
“Taxpayers were generous during the pandemic, saving struggling businesses with loans and grants provided by the Small Business Administration,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan. “This defendant stole from the taxpayers, cheating them out of millions. For these crimes she’ll now pay with years of her life in federal prison, and she’s been ordered to pay every penny back with interest.”
“Federal CARES Act dollars were meant to keep families, businesses, and the economy afloat during the pandemic. Instead, this fraudster lied in her applications and used more than $3.3 million to live the high life,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Mark Michalek. “The FBI continues to investigate those who so eagerly defrauded the government and we’re committed to holding each and every one accountable.”
United States District Court Judge Nina Y. Wang sentenced the defendant on August 15, 2023. In addition to the period of incarceration, the defendant was ordered to pay $3,437,072.81, plus interest, in restitution.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Denver Division. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole C. Cassidy and Rebecca S. Weber.
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to four years in prison.