Federal charges were filed Tuesday against three Omaha residents for trying to allegedly stealing from the federal COVID-19 relief program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Prosecutors allege that the three fraudulently submitted applications for more than $2 million in PPP loans for businesses that do not operate, and they obtained about $489,000 in PPP loan money.
Acting U.S. Attorney Jan Sharp said Tamika R. Cross, 42, Ronnie E. Cross, 44, and Davida J. Anderson, 51, all of Omaha, were evidently in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.
The PPP was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that Congress enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPP provided forgivable loans to small businesses that were hindered by the pandemic so they could continue paying employees.
The indictment alleges that the defendants each engaged in a scheme to defraud lenders. Each of them faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a three-year term of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.
An indictment is a charging document that contains one or more individual counts that are merely accusations, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, Sharp said in the announcement.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
On May 17, the U.S. Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.
The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute domestic and international criminal actors and helps agencies prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.
For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
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