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Owner of tax preparation business indicted for defrauding pandemic relief funding program

Subtitle
Defendant is alleged to have faked tax documents to get funds
Published By
U.S. Attorney's Office
Published Date
Body

SAVANNAH, GA:  A Georgia woman faces up to 20 years in prison after an indictment alleging she fraudulently obtained funds intended for COVID-19 small business assistance.

Gladys Harun, 43, of Byron, Ga., is charged with one count of Wire Fraud, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charge subjects Harun upon conviction to a statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison along with substantial financial penalties and restitution, followed by up to three years of supervised release upon completion of any prison term.

There is no parole in the federal system.

“Congress appropriated nearly $650 billion to help small businesses struggling to survive during the pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “That amount of money rang the dinner bell for those who would exploit the system to feed their greed, and with our law enforcement partners we are holding them accountable.”

As described in the indictment returned by a U.S. District Court Grand Jury and in court proceedings, Harun, who operates a tax preparation business with several locations, is accused of providing “false and altered supporting documentation” to obtain $299,913 in loan proceeds from a California lender through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’s Paycheck Protection Program.

Prior to the indictment, Harun was arrested on a criminal complaint and ordered detained by U.S. Magistrate Brian K. Epps.

Criminal indictments and complaints contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is being investigated by the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Secret Service, and IRS Criminal Investigations, and prosecuted for the United States by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.