NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that SHARNAE EVERY (“EVERY”), age 27, of Houston, Texas, pled guilty on March 2, 2023 to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349.
The case against EVERY began as a a referral from the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (“PRAC”) regarding possible fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans . Investigators determined there were at least 110 PPP sole proprietor loan applications in and around the Thibodeaux, Louisiana area that all contained the same invoices and federal tax forms (“Schedule C”) with the same business name and amounts.
According to documents filed in federal court, EVERY created a fictitious business called “Natural Hair Afro, LLC, Houma, LA 70360” and used this fictitious business name on nearly all of the fraudulent PPP loan applications. EVERY advertised under various aliases on Facebook to recruit individuals to obtain money from the PPP program. EVERY prepared and submitted false and fraudulent PPP sole proprietor loan applications via various online portals including, but not limited, to Blueacorn. EVERY created all of the false and fraudulent invoices, bank statements, and Schedule Cs. EVERY falsely certified that the applications and the information provided in the supporting documents were true and accurate when she electronically submitted the fraudulent PPP loan applications.
EVERY charged the individuals she recruited to prepare and submit the fraudulent PPP application anywhere from $45.00 to $120.00 . EVERY primarily used Cash App to receive the initial payments. EVERY then charged approximately $3,500.00 once the loans were funded. EVERY received these funds into her Current account, her Cash App account, or into her boyfriend’s current account.
EVERY faces a maximum penalty of twenty (20) years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000.00 or twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to any person, followed by a term of supervised release for up to three (3) years, and a $100.00 mandatory special assessment fee.
Sentencing in this matter is scheduled for June 8, 2023 before Chief United States District Judge Carl J. Barbier.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus. The Veterans Administration, Office of the Inspector General, is an active member of the PRAC Fraud Task Force.
For more information on the Department of Justice’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus. 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.
This case was investigated by an agent assigned to the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) Fraud Task Force. The PRAC was established to serve the American public by promoting transparency and facilitating coordinated oversight of the federal government’s COVID-19 pandemic response. The PRAC’s 21 member Inspectors General identify major risks that cross program and agency boundaries to detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in the more than $5 trillion in COVID-19 spending. The PRAC Fraud Task Force brings together agents from 15 Inspectors General to investigate fraud involving a variety of programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program.
The United States Attorney’s Office would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the Veterans Administration, Office of the Inspector General; United States Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and the United States Secret Service’s Cyber Fraud Task Force, consisting of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, Thibodeaux Police Department, and the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation with this matter. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit, and Assistant United States Attorney Edward Rivera, COVID-19 Fraud Coordinator.