Little Rock Woman Pleads Guilty to COVID Relief Fraud: Defendant Admits Received Nearly $ 2 Million For Missing Business | Vanburen
LITTLE ROCK – Little Rock woman pleaded guilty to bank fraud this afternoon after fraudulently securing nearly $ 2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (P3) loans intended to provide relief to small businesses affected by COVID -19. Cody Hiland, United States attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Diane Upchurch, special agent in charge of the local FBI office in Little Rock, announced the guilty plea of 41-year-old Ganell Tubbs on December 10.
At today’s hearing, Tubbs admitted that she claims to own two companies: The Little Piglet Soap Company, LLC and Suga Girl Customs, LLC. Neither company is in good standing, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State, and both companies list Tubbs’ home and personal phone number as their business contact information.
On April 30, 2020, Tubbs submitted a PPP request stating that Suga Girl Customs had paid $ 1,385,903 in salaries and allowances during the first quarter of 2020. She was approved for a PPP loan of $ 1,518,887 and received funds on May 5, 2020, but two days later she used the proceeds to make a payment of $ 8,000 on her personal student loan. The following week, Tubbs spent around $ 6,000 on online purchases at retailers like Apple, Michael Kors, Sephora, North Face, Nike and others.
Likewise, on May 5, 2020, Tubbs submitted another PPP request, this time regarding The Little Piglet Soap Company. Based on the false statements it made in the loan application, The Little Piglet Soap Company received a PPP loan of $ 414,375.
“This defendant took nearly $ 2 million that was intended to keep small businesses afloat during COVID-related shutdowns,” US Attorney Hiland said. “The hard-working Arkansans needed these funds to pay their employees and support their families, and we will not tolerate fraudsters who lie to obtain these funds and then use them for their personal enjoyment. We ask anyone with information about suspected PPP fraud to please report it.
The indictment, which was handed down by a grand jury on July 7, 2020, charges Tubbs with two counts of bank fraud, two counts of misrepresenting a loan application and one count of enlisting in a monetary transaction with the proceeds of illegal activities. activity. Tubbs pleaded guilty today to one count of bank fraud in exchange for dismissing the remaining charges.
Tubbs’ plea was accepted this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Brian S. Miller, who will convict Tubbs at a later date. The FBI, the Small Business Administration – Office of the Inspector General and the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Pat Harris and Jamie Dempsey are continuing the case.