Emanuel County Woman Sentenced After Admitting To Participating In COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fraud Program | USAO-SDGA
STATESBORO, Georgia: A woman in Emanuel County who admitted to setting up a bogus business and using it to receive funding from a federal COVID-19 small business assistance program has been convicted in federal court.
Tracy kirkland, 41, of Swainsboro, was sentenced to 33 months in prison after pleading guilty to a report accusing him of wire fraud, said David H. Estes, acting US attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Chief Justice J. Randal Hal also ordered Kirkland to pay restitution of $ 66,400, waive a 2019 Dodge Charger and $ 16,250, and serve three years. supervised release after having served his prison sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Tracy Kirkland has a troubling two-decade history as a petty thief and was on state probation when she escalated her crimes to a notch by defrauding the COVID-19 relief program,” the US prosecutor said by interim Estes. “She is once again held responsible for her criminal activity.”
As described in court documents and testimony, in August 2020 Kirkland received a federally guaranteed loan of $ 66,400 under the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s Economic Disaster Lending Program (EIDL) program. ) of the United States, made up of funds restricted by the CARES Act. In requesting the funding, Kirkland falsely claimed to own “Kirklands Hair N Beauty,” a fictitious business with three employees in Swainsboro that had suffered economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shortly after receiving the SBA loan proceeds in his personal account, Kirkland, a previously convicted felon who was on probation, used the funds to purchase a 2019 Dodge Charger R / T; made large withdrawals of money from their bank account; and made other non-commercial purchases.
“Lying to gain access to economic stimulus funds will be judged by justice,” said Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, special agent in charge of the SBA OIG’s Eastern region. “Greed has no place in the SBA’s programs that aim to provide assistance to small businesses across the country struggling with the challenges of the pandemic. I want to thank the United States Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and pursuit of justice. “
The Office of the Inspector General of the United States Small Business Administration investigated the case with assistance from the Swainsboro Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Ammunition , with lawsuits for the United States by Deputy US Prosecutors Steven H. Lee and the head of the Asset Recovery Unit. Xavier A. Cunningham.