3 indicted in alleged $1.1 million COVID-19 relief fraud

3 indicted in alleged $1.1 million COVID-19 relief fraud
(Source: Live 5 News)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Three suspects associated with Better Days Tax Service have been charged for $1.1 million in fraudulently obtained COVID-19 related Economic Injury Disaster loans.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Brandy D. Scaife, 42, Janisha L. Jones, 22, and Sharika L. Carpenter, 42, of Better Days Tax Service, have been charged.

Investigators said between April 2020 and June 2020, Scaife, Jones and Carpenter, participated in a fraud scheme to obtain COVID-19 relief funds from the Small Business Administration in excess of $1 million.

Four hundred and one applications were fraudulently filed, seeking Economic Injury Disaster loans made available to those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to officials. Multiple applications were submitted using false information.

Evidence showed approved loan applications worth nearly $1.1 million.

Each defendant could face up to 30 years in federal prison. Officials said there is no parole in the federal system.

"Protection of the United States Treasury is a top priority for the Department of Justice, and our office is absolutely committed to bringing to justice those who would seek to take unfair advantage of critical government resources through fraud during this challenging and uncertain time of the COVID-19 pandemic. I commend the outstanding investigation by our federal law enforcement partners in this brazen and disturbing case.”
United States Attorney D. Michael Dunavant

Better Days Tax Service reached out late Monday night and in a statement said the accused were independent contractors and not employees, and “any activities that occurred during this time frame were at the sole discretion of the independent seasonal contractor(s) and had no association with Better Days Tax Service.”

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