Ocala Woman Admits Guilt in $20k COVID-19 Relief Fund Theft

Ocala Woman Admits Guilt in $20k COVID-19 Relief Fund Theft

A woman from Ocala who acquired a fraudulent COVID-19 relief loan is now facing the possibility of up to 20 years in prison and fines exceeding $20,000 after admitting guilt to one count of wire fraud.

The United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, Roger B. Handberg, declared on Tuesday that 30-year-old Passion Lajodia Jackson has confessed to committing wire fraud in connection to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Jackson could potentially be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in federal prison and be required to forfeit at least $20,132, which represents the ill-gotten gains from her unlawful actions.

According to court records, on April 2, 2021, Jackson electronically submitted an application for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to the Small Business Administration. Her application contained false information, including the submission of a fictitious Internal Revenue Service document as supporting evidence.

On April 6, 2021, Jackson deceitfully received a PPP loan amounting to $20,132 based on the fabricated information in her application. The loan was electronically transferred to her bank account, and she withdrew the funds in cash within 30 days.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Hannah Nowalk.

In May 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which combines the resources of the Department of Justice with various government agencies to combat and prevent fraud related to the pandemic.

If anyone has information regarding suspected COVID-19 fraud, they can report it by calling the Justice Department’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or by submitting a complaint form on NCDF’s website.