OXFORD, Miss. (WMC) – On Wednesday, 14 Marshall and DeSoto County residents were arrested on criminal charges related to their involvement in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain government funds.
These funds were intended to protect employees of endangered businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program (PPP).
“The Secret Service remains steadfast in our commitment to investigating the exploitation of pandemic relief funds,” said U.S Secret Service Acting Special Agent in Charge Ben Zack Rogers, of the Memphis Tennessee Field Office. “We are thankful for the hard work and continued support of our partners as we work together to ensure that our country’s financial environment remains safe and secure.”
All 14 suspects are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud by fraudulently applying for PPP loans, and participating in wire transfers of over $10,000 involving proceeds of the fraud scheme.
Those arrested include:
- Robert Pearson, 52, of Holly Springs
- Lakisha Jones Pearson, 46, of Holly Springs
- Glendon Jones, 29, of Red Banks
- Roneisha Dennis, 30, of Red Banks
- Devonte Smith, 27, of Holly Springs
- Jaliyah Godwin, 26, of Olive Branch
- Jacoby Alexander, 39, of Holly Springs
- Kevin Anderson, 41, of Lamar
- Melvin Harris, 26, of Holly Springs
- Dametris Pearson, 27, of Southaven
- Terrance Isom, age unknown, of Southaven
- Mareceo Hobson, 28, of Olive Branch
- Dianne Cox, 67, of Byhalia
- Doris Pearson, 56, of Olive Branch
If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 30 years for their conspiracy and wire fraud violations and 10 years for their financial transaction charges.
A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
“The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration aggressively pursues those who attempt to defraud the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and its Paycheck Protection Program, which was created to assist legitimate business owners during the pandemic,” said J. Russell George, the treasury inspector general for Tax Administration. “We appreciate the efforts of our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office to ensure this criminal activity is held to account.”
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