In Need of Enlightenment

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Hacking and criminal concept.A hacker in a secret hiding place is neon light.

Fraudsters have good intentions, said no one ever. Their motives are just plain selfish. Porsha Tims Bush, 41, of Knoxville, Tenn., pleaded guilty to wire fraud for intending to steal more than half a million dollars in in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) funds. (Her intentions were to use the government funds for personal expenses. You can’t get more selfish than that.)

Between March and June of 2020, Bush applied for ten loans through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) PPP and EIDL programs. The fraudulent applications requested $547,286 in loans. (That’s a lot of money for only four months of paperwork. I see why unscrupulous individuals are attracted to this type of fraud – just a little bit of paper pushing yields high dollar returns.)

The applications were submitted under company names that did not exist or were ineligible to receive COVID-19 relief funds. Bush created false records and statements involving the number of employees she had, the amount of payroll expenses sustained, and the revenue she generated, corporate entities, and the intended use of the loans. (She could fill a book with the lies she created.)

One application was submitted in the name of Enlightenment Family Care, Inc. and aimed to collect $150,000 in EIDL funds. (Bush needs to be enlightened on how to live an honest life.) To support the application, Bush claimed that the company generated $335,651 in gross revenue and paid $45,651 in wages to four employees the year before the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to these false claims, Bush submitted supporting documents, including a falsified Profit and Loss Statement and a fabricated Internal Revenue Service Form.

Eight of the fraudulent applications were approved. With the money she illegally obtained, Bush paid off personal loans. She also used the money to travel and to buy clothing and various electronics. (Well, isn’t that nice. I’m sure taxpayers are glad she used their hard-earned dollars to enjoy herself.)

After obtaining a warrant during Bush’s investigation, law enforcement retrieved $77,820.44 from three bank accounts controlled by Bush. As stated in the plea agreement, this money will be forfeited to the United States.

Bush could face up to 20 years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release. She will also pay $471,6221 in restitution to the victims of her scheme. (My guess is that she will be enlightened by the sentence she receives.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Knoxville Woman Pleads Guilty to Scheme to Defraud the Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 Economic Relief Programs,” dated August 5, 2021.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On August 5, 2021, Porsha Tims Bush, 41, of Knoxville, entered a guilty plea to one count of executing a wire fraud scheme in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Sentencing is set for January 7, 2022, at 2:00 pm, before United States District Judge Katherine Crytzer.  Bush faces a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.  Bush has agreed to pay restitution to the victims of her fraud scheme in the amount of $471,621.

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.