Four indicted under separate pandemic fraud programs – STL.
Four local people charged under separate fraud plans to fight pandemic
CINCINNATI (STL news) Four local people have been charged at the federal level with defrauding COVID-19 pandemic relief funding programs. In separate cases, the four are said to have lied about owning businesses and hiring others. Some defendants are said to have repeatedly requested relief funds and some are said to have spent the funding they received on lavish personal items and vacation trips.
Kelli Prather, 48, of Cincinnati, appeared in federal court in Cincinnati this afternoon. According to court documents, she applied for six Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans as part of the COVID-19 pandemic relief from the CARES Act.
Prather allegedly claimed to own six businesses – Enhanced Healthcare Solutions, Life Skills Improvement, Prather Property Management, Reliable Ambulet Services, Rich Glo Management Services and Tots R Us. It is alleged that the bank discovered a number of errors in Prather’s loan applications and also indicated that there were six different pending applications.
According to the criminal complaint, Prather sought more than $ 600,000 in fraud compensation and fraudulently received approximately $ 19,800.
She is accused of bank fraud (up to 30 years in prison), aggravated identity theft (at least two years in prison following any other sentence imposed), misrepresentation (up to five years in prison), false statements in this regard. credit or loan applications (up to 30 years in prison) and misrepresentation of a social security number (up to five years in prison).
Toni Wright, 34, of Cincinnati, reportedly received $ 349,000 in fraudulent PPP relief loans. Court documents say she made false claims as the sole owner of Poshedbar (a hair and nail salon), Beautiful Beginnings Doula Service and Jerry’s Electronics.
Wright allegedly used the same employer identification number for more than one of the alleged businesses and residential addresses listed as business locations. She reportedly made numerous requests despite her initial refusal.
The criminal complaint filed against Wright claims that she used PPP funds for various personal purchases, such as restaurants through Door Dash, retail establishments such as Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Kay Jewelers and vacation activities. like King’s Island, Luxury Rentals Miami and American Airlines. . Wright also reportedly spent more than $ 10,000 in relief funds at Sono Bello, a facility that promotes laser liposuction and body contouring.
Wright is charged with bank fraud (up to 30 years in prison), major disaster or emergency benefits fraud (up to 30 years in prison), wire fraud (up to 20 years in prison ), making false statements (up to five years in prison), making false statements in connection with credit or loan applications (up to 30 years in prison) and misrepresenting a social security number (up to five years in prison).
Melissa McGhee, 37, of Cincinnati, was arrested last night by Sycamore Township police officers. McGhee, also known as Melissa Batton, came to the attention of law enforcement when she allegedly lied about an FHA loan for a new home. Through this investigation, officers discovered that McGhee had allegedly applied for seven different pandemic relief loans and received three.
Court documents state that McGhee used the trade names M&MM Realty Group and M&M Realty Group to submit the fraudulent claims.
McGhee is said to have received $ 186,000 in fraudulent relief funds, which she used, in part, to purchase real estate.
She is charged with bank fraud (up to 30 years in prison), fraud in connection with a major disaster or emergency benefits (up to 30 years in prison), electronic fraud (up to 20 years years in prison), making false statements (up to five years in prison) and making false statements in connection with credit or loan applications (up to 30 years in prison).
Jon Alan Bader, 50, of Dayton, has reportedly received more than $ 120,000 in fraudulent pandemic relief funds by lying on claims. Bader reportedly registered the company JB Auto Wholesale, LLC with the State of Ohio through LegalZoom in June 2020, after the loan eligibility deadline.
An affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint states that Bader spent the relief funds on various food deliveries via Door Dash, transportation via Uber, and purchases that appear to be for travel in Indiana, Kentucky. and Florida. Bader is said to have made purchases at various retail stores such as Puma, Lacoste and Saks, and paid for trips to Sarasota, Florida. Bank statements show Bader was spending between $ 55,000 and $ 67,000 in the summer of 2020.
He is charged with bank fraud (up to 30 years in prison), major disaster or emergency benefit fraud (up to 30 years in prison), wire fraud (up to 20 years in prison). prison), making false statements (up to five years in prison) and making false statements in connection with credit or loan applications (up to 30 years in prison).
Vipal J. Patel, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; and Chris Hoffman, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; Yvonne DiCristoforo, Special Agent, United States Secret Service, Cincinnati Field Office; and Wayland Quon, acting special agent in charge, Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration, Chicago Field Division, announced the charges. The deputy lawyers for the United States, Ebunoluwa Taiwo and Anthony Springer, represent the United States in these cases. All four cases were investigated by members of the Pandemic Fraud Committee of the Financial Crimes Task Force.
A criminal complaint is only an allegation and the accused are presumed innocent unless they are found guilty by a court.