COVID Feature: Loaning Myself Some Money

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 A Little Rock, Ark., woman was sentenced to time in federal prison after fraudulently obtaining nearly $2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, which were intended to provide relief for small businesses affected by COVID-19. (Not relieve the strain on her pocketbook.)

Ganell Tubbs, 41, pleaded guilty to bank fraud in December 2020 and admitted that she lied on her PPP loan applications about owning two businesses. Tubbs fraudulently claimed that she owned The Little Piglet Soap Company, LLC, and Suga Girl Customs, LLC. Both businesses list Tubbs’ residence and personal phone number as the business contact information.

Tubbs submitted a PPP application on April 30, 2020 fraudulently claiming that Suga Girl Customs had paid $1,385,903 in wages and compensation during the first quarter of 2020. (She must have had a surge in business at the online store she purported to own to rake in that much money for beads, charms and other crafting items.) She was approved for a PPP loan of $1,518,887 and received the funds on May 5, 2020. (But there were no employees to pay.)

Two days later, Tubbs used some of the proceeds to make an $8,000 payment on her personal student loan. (She tried to pay off her government loans, with more government loans.) The following week, Tubbs spent approximately $6,000 in online purchases at retailers including Apple, Michael Kors, Sephora, North Face, Nike, and others.

On May 5, 2020, Tubbs submitted another PPP application. This application was for the Little Piglet Soap Company, Tubb falsely asserted that she needed financial assistance to pay wages. The Little Piglet Soap Company received a PPP loan for $414,375 as a result of Tubbs’ claims.

An indictment against Tubbs was returned by a grand jury on July 7, 2020, charging her with two counts of bank fraud, two counts of making a false statement on a loan application, and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction with proceeds of unlawful activity. Tubbs’ guilty plea to one count of bank fraud was received in exchange for dismissal of the remaining charges.

Tubbs was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and two years of supervised release. In addition, Tubbs was also ordered to pay $14,000 restitution, as nearly $2 million of the PPP loans were able to be recovered before they could be spent. (Her online shopping habits could’ve caused more damage if she hadn’t been caught in time.)  

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Little Rock Woman Sentenced to 41 Months in Prison For COVID Relief Fraud,” dated March 12, 2021.

LITTLE ROCK—A Little Rock woman was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison after fraudulently obtaining nearly $2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans intended to provide relief for small businesses affected by COVID-19. Jonathan D. Ross, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Little Rock Field Office, announced the sentence of Ganell Tubbs, 41.

Tubbs pleaded guilty to bank fraud in December 2020 and admitted that she purported to own two businesses: The Little Piglet Soap Company, LLC, and Suga Girl Customs, LLC. According to the Arkansas Secretary of State, neither business is in good standing, and both businesses list Tubbs’ residence and personal phone number as the business contact information.

 

 

 

 

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.