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Case Number: 2:22-cr-122
Judge: David A. Faber
Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (Kanawha County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: Charleston, West Virginia criminal law lawyer represented defendant charged with wire fraud, admitting to a scheme to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of over $42,250.00 in COVID-19 relief loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
Alexis Ransom, 24, of Logan, applied for three PPP loans beginning on March 27, 2021, and continuing to August 16, 2021, for her purported business, Alexis Renae Ransom, which she claimed did business under the tradenames of Renae’s Fashion Consulting LLC and Momma & Me Boutique. Ransom admitted that she falsely stated that Renae’s Fashion Consulting LLC was established in 2019, and had earned $66,900.00 in gross income in 2019 and 2020, and that Momma & Me Boutique earned $69,000.00 in gross income in 2019. The investigation revealed that Ransom’s purported business and its tradenames had not engaged in substantial business activity before February 15, 2020. Ransom further admitted that she submitted a false Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1040, Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business in connection with the first loan application she submitted for Renae’s Fashion Consulting LLC.
The CARES Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, 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 forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain approved expenses, through the PPP. Businesses must use PPP loan proceeds for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.
Ransom obtained two PPP loans of $13,937.50 each for Renae’s Fashion Consulting LLC, and one loan of $14,375.00 for Momma & Me Boutique. Ransom admitted that she later applied to have all three PPP loans forgiven even though she had not spent the loan proceeds on permissible business expenses. The SBA forgave her loans on August 16, 2021.
Ransom is scheduled to be sentenced on November 16, 2022 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Ransom also agreed to pay $42,250.00 in restitution.
United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the West Virginia State Police and the United States Secret Service for conducting the investigation.
Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen Robeson is prosecuting the case.
Outcome: Defendant pleaded guilt.