An Alpharetta woman is among several people charged with stealing millions from a federal COVID-19 relief program.
Lakisha Swope, 43, of Alpharetta and Treisha Pearson, 49, of Brookhaven have been arraigned on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering after allegedly participating in a scheme to steal over $3.5 million from the Paycheck Protection Program.
“Swope and Pearson allegedly stole millions of dollars destined to help small business owners,” Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine said. “PPP dollars often provide a bridge for businesses suffering from the effects of the pandemic. However, PPP funds are not unlimited, and those who seek to enrich themselves fraudulently through this program will be prosecuted.”
“These two defendants are accused of misdirecting federal emergency assistance from businesses who need it to stay afloat, to their own pockets, during a pandemic,” Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta Chris Hacker said. “Their alleged greed affects every tax paying citizen and the FBI will make every effort to make sure funds provided by programs like PPP are used as intended.”
According to officials, Swope and Pearson, together with others, allegedly submitted false PPP applications for a number of entities claiming over $5 million in loans. These PPP applications allegedly contained materially false information such as false representations regarding the applicant entities’ total number of employees and average monthly payroll.
As a result of these false statements, lenders issued over $3.5 million in PPP loans to these various entities. Swope and the others then allegedly used the fraudulently obtained funds for unauthorized expenditures including luxury clothing, restaurants, personal rent, hotels and vacation rentals.
Both women were indicted on Feb. 24.