Six Oklahomans Charged with Cares Act Fraud
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY – Earlier this week, a criminal indictment was unsealed charging six Oklahoma residents with fraudulently obtaining nearly $1 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, announced U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.
On August 16, 2023, a federal grand jury returned a sealed, 28-count indictment against MARQUITA DESHAWN SHAW, 39, and AMIE STREET, 39, both of Lawton, Oklahoma, and COREY DONTA SHAW, 40, ERIC DEWAYNE SHAW, 38, MARQUS DEJUAN SHAW, 39, and SHATARA MARIE BREVELLE, 38, from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The indictment charges conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, making false statements to a financial institution, making false statements, and false representation of a social security number. The indictment was unsealed on August 29, 2023. All defendants, except Corey Shaw, have been arrested and released on conditions. A warrant has been issued for Shaw and he is considered a fugitive.
The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to submit false and fraudulent loan applications through the PPP loan program. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided more than $2 trillion in relief for individuals and businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act also authorized the Small Business Administration to create the PPP to promote lending to small businesses affected by the pandemic for job retention and certain other expenses.
The indictment alleges the defendants created fictitious businesses and made numerous false and misleading statements about those businesses for the purpose of obtaining PPP loans. In support of the fraudulent loan applications, the defendants conspired to submit fake and altered documents, including altered and fictitious bank statements, identification documents, and tax records. The indictment further alleges that MARQUITA DESHAWN SHAW created fictitious identities to fraudulently obtain additional PPP loan proceeds that she subsequently transferred into bank accounts that she controlled. She is also charged with making false statements about her finances in applications for Housing and Urban Development housing benefits.
“Our advanced analytic tools make it possible for the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) data scientists and the PRAC Fraud Task Force to uncover complex fraud schemes in millions of rows of data,” said Steve Hanson, manager of the PRAC Fraud Task Force. “Through coordination and innovation, we’re able to identify clusters of fraud where egregious cases of theft occurred, ensuring that those who stole pandemic relief funds are held accountable.”
“In the midst of unprecedented economic hardship experienced by so many during the pandemic, there are those who opted to take advantage of the aid offered through lies and deceit,” said U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester. “My office will aggressively pursue those who wrongfully take advantage of government assistance and taxpayer funds.”
As part of the PRAC Task Force, this investigation was conducted by the PRAC, along with their law enforcement partners with the Social Security Administration (SSA)-Office of Inspector General (OIG), Small Business Administration (SBA)-OIG, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-OIG, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-OIG, Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-Criminal Investigations (CI), U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Lawton Police Department, Oklahoma City Police Department, and the Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center (MOCIC), Springfield, MO.
The PRAC was established to promote transparency and facilitate coordinated oversight of the federal government’s COVID-19 pandemic response. The PRAC’s 20 member Inspectors General identify major risks that cross program and agency boundaries to detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in the more than $5 trillion in COVID-19 spending, including spending via the PPP, and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. This case was also supported by the PRAC’s Pandemic Analytics Center of Excellence, which applies the latest advances in analytic and forensic technologies to help OIGs and law enforcement pursue data-driven pandemic relief fraud investigations.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danielle London and William Farrior.
The public is reminded these charges are merely accusations and that each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. Reference is made to court filings for further information.