After receiving reports of possible fraudulent PPP loans, the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (“PRAC”) referred EVERY for further investigation. During their investigation, PPP discovered at least 110 sole proprietor loan applications in the Thibodeaux, Louisiana area that used the same business name and included the same invoices and federal tax forms (“Schedule C”) with the same amounts.
United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that SHARNAE EVERY 27, of Houston, Texas, pled guilty on March 2, 2023, to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 1349.
It has been claimed in federal court documents that the fictional company “Natural Hair Afro, LLC, Houma, LA 70360” was used in almost all of the fraudulent PPP loan applications submitted by EVERY. Every single one of them created fake Facebook profiles to solicit new members for the PPP. To obtain a PPP sole proprietor loan, ALL of them created and submitted fictitious and fraudulent applications via various online portals, such as, but not limited to, Blueacorn. Each participant fabricated their own fake invoices, bank statements, and Schedule Cs. Each applicant fraudulently applied for a PPP loan electronically, claiming all information provided was true and accurate.
Fraudulent PPP application scheme: everyone paid recruits and relied on Cash App.
Everyone paid their recruits between $45.00 and $120.00 to assist with the fraudulent PPP application. Everyone relied heavily on Cash App for the initial deposits. Following the funding, everyone was charged an additional $3,500 in fees. The cash was deposited into the checking accounts of either the girls or their boyfriends.
Anyone can face up to twenty (20) years in prison, a fine of $250,000 (or twice the defendant’s gross gain or twice the victim’s gross loss), up to three (3) years of supervised release, and a compulsory assessment fee of $100.
On June 8, 2023, you will be sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Carl J. Barbier.
To better coordinate and mobilize the resources of the Department of Justice with other government agencies in the fight against and prevention of pandemic-related fraud, the Attorney General on May 17, 2021, ordered the formation of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
The Task Force improves efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and helps agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, for example, strengthening and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s actions during the pandemic, visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus. The Inspector General of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs plays a crucial role in the fight against fraud in the PRAC system.
For more information on the Department of Justice’s actions during the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus. If you have information about attempted fraud related to COVID-19, please contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or submit the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
This was investigated by a member of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee’s (PRAC) Fraud Task Force. To better serve the public, the government established the Public Response Advisory Committee (PRAC) to facilitate greater transparency and unified oversight of the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PRAC is made up of twenty-one Inspectors General, and it is their job to keep an eye out for any instances of fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement in the over $5 trillion in COVID-19 spending. PRAC Fraud Task Force agents come from 15 different Inspectors General and investigate possible Paycheck Protection Program fraud as a team.
The US Attorney’s Office also extends gratitude to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Labor, the Homeland Security Investigations Division (HSI), and the Cyber Fraud Task Force of the US Secret Service, which includes law enforcement agencies like the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Thibodeaux Police Department, and others. Prosecution of this case is being handled by the Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit and COVID-19 Fraud Coordinator Assistant United States Attorney Brian M. Klebba and his colleague, Edward Rivera.
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