MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) — Another defendant pleaded guilty Wednesday to fraudulently obtaining money under the Paycheck Protection Program, adding to the growing list of cases in federal court here.
Mobile’s Tiffny Millender pleaded guilty to wire fraud and Small Business Administration fraud.
Millender admitted to filing a fraudulent claim in April last year, claiming she had earned $91,788 the previous year from a restaurant and decorating business. The Small Business Administration approved this request and sent a loan of $19,111 to the defendant. In August of last year, the Small Business Administration forgave that loan under rules established by Congress.
Millender admitted to the FBI that she filed the request, according to court records.
Congress poured money into companies at the start of the pandemic in an effort to keep inactive employees on the payroll until the crisis was over. The government asked few questions. Some experts estimate that criminals stole up to $80 billion in Paycheck Protection Program funds through fraud.
Mobile prosecutors prosecuted some of that, including people who claimed to run businesses while serving prison sentences.
This was not the case for Millender. She worked at a Greer grocery store and a catering and decorating company. But even if the cases were legitimate, Millender’s plea agreement says she didn’t earn the income she claimed in either 2019 or 2020. She told investigators she only did one or two jobs per month for between $1,200 and $3,500 per event.
Millender told the FBI that someone else helped her file the false statements but could only provide the first name. She said she had deleted that person’s contact information, according to the plea document.
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