Texas woman charged in $1.2M PPP loan program fraud
Justice Department Documents & Publications
A Waxahachie woman who allegedly defrauded pandemic-era financial programs out of more than $1.2 million has been federally charged, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
Annette Bryant, 63, was indicted last Tuesday on one count of wire fraud, eight counts of making false statements to a bank, and one count of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity. She made her initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Toliver on Monday.
The indictment alleges that Ms. Bryant included false statements in PPP loan applications submitted to financial institutions administering PPP, including InterBank, Comerica, Regions Bank, and others. She allegedly inflated her businesses' employee counts, inflated their payroll, and even lied about the number of businesses she owned. She also allegedly included false statements in EIDL loan applications submitted to the Small Business Administration, misrepresenting her businesses' gross revenues.
An indictment is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Like all defendants, Ms. Bryant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, she faces up to 30 years in federal prison on each count of making a false statement to a bank, 20 years on the count of wire fraud, and 10 years on count of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity. Upon conviction, she will be required to forfeit the financial proceeds of the scheme or property traceable to it.
The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Dallas Field Office of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), and the Small Business Administration's Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG) conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marty Basu and Fabio Leonardi are prosecuting the case.
Both the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the expanded Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program were authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/coronavirus/about-the-cares-act), a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPP provided forgivable loans to small businesses to cover payroll, rent, and other certain expenses; EIDL provided quickly-issued, partially-forgivable loans to small business to cover operational expenses, including accounts payable, as well as payroll, mortgages, and other bills.