Augusta woman faces prison for lying to get COVID-19 business aid
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - An Augusta woman who admitted lying in an effort to secure COVID-19 relief loans has been sentenced in U.S. District Court and ordered to pay restitution.
Jacinthia Williams, 44, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, said David H. Estes, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
She was sentenced to 12 months plus one day in prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $61,600 in restitution. Williams has already paid back a portion of the fraudulently obtained loans.
In June and July 2020, Williams applied for and received three loans totaling $137,500 under the U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program funded by the CARES Act.
In pleading guilty to the charges, Williams admitted falsifying the loan applications by inflating the number of employees of the businesses and the amount of money those businesses earned before the pandemic-induced economic downturn. She also admitted spending some of the loan proceeds on purely personal matters.
“Making false statements to fraudulently gain access to SBA’s disaster assistance loan programs is unacceptable,” said Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, special agent in charge of the SBA Office of Inspector General’s Eastern Region.
To report a COVID-19-related fraud scheme or suspicious activity, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud by calling 866-720-5721 or visiting https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
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