A San Diego woman who falsely claimed to have two employees on her marketing company’s payroll to get a loan under the CARES Act pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday With.
Nikole L. Edwards, 40, the founder of Social Savvy Marketing, approved to submit falsified tax documents and salary information in order to obtain a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program.
The US prosecutor said it applied for “tens of thousands of dollars in PPP loans” from three financial institutions in April and May. The companies actually had no employees.
Edwards provided bogus addresses, social security numbers, and W-2 forms to nonexistent employees. Prosecutors said that when a loan was turned down, they claimed, “This is a lifeline for my employees and my company, and we won.” I cannot survive without it. “
She was able to get a $ 19,583 PPP loan but has to repay the entire amount under the plea agreement.
Edwards filed her appeal in federal court in San Diego Tuesday and is due to be sentenced on November 18. The Small Business Administration’s misrepresentation charge has a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $ 5,000 fine, according to the US Attorney’s Office.
“The PPP is designed to help companies in difficulty to meet legitimate payroll obligations, and not to enrich sole proprietorships who engage in outright fraud,” said US attorney Robert Brewer. “We are working diligently with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those who abuse this critical lifeline for the country’s businesses, workers and the economy.”
–City news service