HOUSTON – A woman faced federal charges Tuesday afternoon after authorities said she committed fraud to get millions of dollars from the CARES Act.
LaDonna Wiggins, 37, was charged with bank fraud, making a false statement to a bank and money laundering.
Authorities said Wiggins submitted two Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications for businesses known as Wiggins & Graham Enterprise LLC and Pink Lady Line, and received $3,648,145.
According to court documents, Wiggins used the funds to make personal purchases, including two homes, multiple vehicles and luxury goods.
The CARES Act provides emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief the CARES Act provides is the authorization of up to $349 billion in United States Small Business Administration (SBA)-guaranteed and forgivable loans to small businesses through the PPP.
Businesses must use PPP loan proceeds for certain permissible expenses, such as payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.
If convicted, Wiggins faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a possible $1 million maximum fine.