Judge orders Mobile woman to surrender more than $41,000 in fraudulent COVID funds
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A federal judge has ordered a woman who admitted to defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program to surrender more than $41,000, equal to the amount of money that the government paid her as a result of her fraudulent scheme.
Sandy Riggins, 35, of Mobile, pleaded guilty in June to filing a fraudulent application under the COVID-19 relief program, which Congress created to help businesses hurt by the pandemic. She also admitted that she helped someone else file a false claim.
The precise amount of the monetary judgment ordered by U.S. District Judge Terry Moorer was $41,665.50.
In requesting the order, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Mobile wrote, “The actions of the defendant were in all respects voluntary, knowing, deliberate, and willful, and were not committed by mistake, accident, or any other innocent reason.”
Riggins admitted to falsely claimed to have owned a child and youth services business when COVID-19 forced it to shut down. In June 2020, she applied for a $20,833 loan. In February last year, she admitted, she took $3,500 from a person whom she helped make a $20,833 Paycheck Protection Program application.
On her own application, Riggins claimed her business had a monthly payroll of $8,333 and generated $113,000 in revenue the previous years. In fact, according to the plea document, the defendant had no business or monthly payroll.
Riggins still faces a sentencing hearing in September. Under advisory sentencing guidelines, Riggins faces a prison term of 18 months to two years.
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