Christina Burden, 31, of Oakland, was charged with one count of bank fraud in June when she applied for and received a loan of $ 684,375 from the Paycheck Protection Program for a shell company.
Burden then submitted nine more fraudulent PPP loan applications and ultimately secured over $ 4.5 million for four different bogus companies, the DOJ reported, citing a criminal complaint.
“The Paycheck Protection Program provides a financial lifeline to businesses in need and their employees,” prosecutors said. “We allege that Christina Burden obtained PPP funds by fraud, submitting false business information, false employee numbers, false bank statements and false income tax returns.”
Burden spent the majority of the PPP money she received on physical items and personal luxuries, including private jet travel, hotel stays, boat rentals, restaurant expenses, luxury cars, Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus products and other specialty items, according to the complaint.
Burden’s fraudulent applications included forged bank statements and fake tax forms, the DOJ noted.
“As we begin a second round of P3 loans for small businesses struggling during this pandemic, we will be on the alert for scammers looking to take advantage of the program,” said Craig Fair, FBI San Francisco special agent, in a statement. communicated. .
“Those wishing to defraud programs designed to help those in need should know that the FBI and our partners will use all investigative tools at our disposal to ensure the integrity of these programs and that they remain available to owners. small businesses in our community, ”said Fair mentioned.
The Small business managementThe PPP forgivable loan program was first implemented through the CARES law of March.
ASB said Tuesday it has approved over 400,000 loans worth approximately $ 35 billion to date. The numbers were the first released by the SBA since the program reopened earlier this month.
About 66% of the loans were for $ 60,000 or less, with the average loan being around $ 87,000.
Megan Henney of Fox Business contributed to this report.