Fake business loan, Little Rock woman says in court

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A Little Rock woman on Thursday admitted bank fraud in federal court after securing nearly $ 2 million in loans meant to provide small business relief from Covid-19, prosecutors said.

Ganell Tubbs, 41, has pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud in U.S. District Court in Little Rock, U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland has announced.

Tubbs admitted in court that she claimed to have operated two existing businesses – The Little Piglet Soap Company and Suga Girl Customs. In fact, neither company was in good standing, according to court documents.

At the end of April, Tubbs submitted a loan application to the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, alleging that Suga Girl Customs had paid nearly $ 1.4 million in compensation in the first quarter of 2020. Following that request, she was approved for a loan of more than $ 1.5 million, prosecutors said. A few days later, she used the proceeds of that loan to make a payment of $ 8,000 on her student debt and spent an additional $ 6,000 on an online shopping spree, according to the US attorney’s office.

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Documents revealed that Tubbs also wired $ 150,000 to a relative. That same parent was told by Tubbs that she won the lottery, according to the FBI, which investigated the fraud.

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On May 5, Tubbs submitted another loan application on behalf of The Little Piglet Soap Company, prosecutors said. Based on the false statements she made in the loan application, The Little Piglet Soap Company received a loan of $ 414,375, according to court documents.

“This accused took almost [$2 million] that were aimed at keeping small businesses afloat during COVID-related shutdowns, ”Hiland wrote in a statement prepared Thursday evening. funds and then use them for personal enjoyment. ”

Business owners could apply for PPP loans after the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, was enacted on March 27. It was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to those suffering from the economic hardship associated with the covid-19 epidemic.

Federal agents executed a search warrant on June 22 at Tubbs’ home, when she admitted the fraud, court documents show.

The Little Piglet Soap Company was registered in August 2013 and Suga Girl Customs was registered in January 2018, but the two companies recently posted revoked status with the Arkansas secretary of state, officials said.

Tubbs was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 7. She was originally charged with two counts of bank fraud, two counts of misrepresenting a loan application and one count of participating in a monetary transaction with the proceeds of illegal activity.

During Thursday’s hearing, she pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud in exchange for dismissing the other four counts, Hiland said.

In 2011, Tubbs filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, according to court records.

A sentencing date has not been set.

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