Los Angeles/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 12, 2024
Los Angeles Woman Pleads Guilty to $2.2 Million COVID-19 Loan Fraud SchemeSource: Blogtrepreneur, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Los Angeles woman has admitted to concocting a multi-million dollar fraud, using the COVID-19 pandemic as a backdrop for her scheme. Casie Hynes, 37, from the Mid-City area, pled guilty to wire fraud and false claims after swindling over $2 million in government loans designed to help businesses during the health emergency, officials said.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California, Hynes was involved in an elaborate plan to quickly get her hands on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). She fraudulently applied in the names of approximately 20 companies, including Nasty Womxn Project and She Suite Collective.

In a plea agreement revealed by the DOJ, Hynes admitted to misappropriating personal information and signatures, padding out applications with fabrications about employee numbers, payroll, and ownership. Her success in these deceitful bids saw her rake in an approximate $2,255,244, which she then channeled into her personal expenses.

Hynes also tried to secure fraudulent tax credits from the IRS under the same companies, seeking nearly an additional $1.3 million, as per the U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California. These attempts involved providing false information about employee wages during the taxing years of 2020 and 2021. She ultimately didn't receive these IRS refunds, but the attempt to further abuse government measures intended to support those hammered by the pandemic was clear.

The schemes were detailed enough to secure approval from banks and the SBA, falling prey to falsified tax documents and bank statements Hynes provided. United States District Judge Hernán D. Vera has scheduled a sentencing hearing for Hynes on January 30, 2025, as reported by the  U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California. She faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for wire fraud and up to five years for the false claims count.

This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen A. Williams of the Major Frauds Section is on the prosecution. In light of these events, the DOJ encourages the public to report any suspected COVID-19 fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline or through their online complaint form.