Brother and sister, Irvin Coats and Pamela Hubbard, had big plans. To open up a chicken wing restaurant, The Wing Strip, in downtown Florissant, MO. Good food, good vibes, and good opportunity. Seems like a business a family could be proud of. The problem was funding. But the COVID-19 pandemic, widely considered to be destructive to businesses in the U.S., was the answer to Irvin Coats and Pamela Hubbard’s prayers. Hubbard and Coats teamed up to fraudulently obtain COVID-19 Relief Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds. The loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration to help small existing businesses stay in business. Not for funding and opening new.
Coats first submitted a PPP loan application in May 2020, for Abounding Protection LLC, a company he established in 2007. Coats falsely claimed that the company had 12 employees and an average monthly payroll of $21,250 when in fact none of that existed. No employees, no wages, no company operations nor revenue. He said he would use the money for payroll, leasing and utilities. Coats received almost $75, 000 in fraudulent loans.
Hubbard pulled her fair share of fraud in too. In June of 2020, Hubbard applied for and received a $371,245 PPP loan for Star Shyne LLC, a cleaning company she set up the year before. With the combined $448,536, The Wing Strip was a go. Just enough money to build the restaurant of their dreams. And renovate their condo for good measure.
One September 6, 2023, the brother and sister team were sentenced to fifteen years each and full restitution of almost a half a million dollars.
Excellent investigation by the F.B.I.
Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on article “St. Louis-area siblings sentenced, misused PPP loans to open ‘Wing Strip’ restaurant” published by FOX2 Now on
A federal judge has sentenced two St. Louis-area siblings over pandemic fraud charges, which stemmed from the couple misusing PPP loans to open a wing restaurant. Irvin Coats, 44, of Florissant, and Pamela Hubbard, 46, of St. Louis, were each sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. They were also to pay back around half a million dollars in pandemic loans they illegally obtained.
Coats and Hubbard both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud earlier this year. According to their plea agreements, Coats and Hubbard applied for and received Paycheck Protection Program loans that were intended to help struggling small businesses and save jobs. Rather than using the money for intended purposes, the two used it to open a “Wing Strip” restaurant in Florissant.