Local woman accused of fraudulently receiving millions under CARES law | USAO-SDTX
HOUSTON – A 37-year-old Houston resident is due to appear in federal court over her alleged submission of two Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications under the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security), announced the Interim US Attorney. Jennifer B. Lowery.
The indictment, filed on February 24, accuses LaDonna Wiggins of bank fraud, bank misrepresentation and money laundering. She is scheduled to appear before US magistrate judge Peter Bray today at 2 p.m.
Wiggins allegedly submitted two PPP loan applications for companies known as Wiggins & Graham Enterprise LLC and Pink Lady Line, which would have earned him $ 3,648,145. The charges allege that Wiggins used these funds to make personal purchases such as two houses, several vehicles and luxury goods – rather than for legitimate business purposes.
The CARES Act is a federal law enacted on March 27, 2020 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 is the authorization of up to $ 349 billion of loans guaranteed and repayable by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) to small businesses through PPP.
Businesses must use the proceeds of the PPP loan for certain permitted expenses, such as labor costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities. Interest and principal on PPP loans can be written off entirely if the business has spent the loan proceeds on these expenses within a specified time frame.
If convicted, Wiggins faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $ 1 million.
The secret services carried out the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Zahra Jivani Fenelon is continuing the case.
A criminal charge is a formal charge of criminal conduct, not evidence. An accused is presumed innocent unless found guilty by due process.