Three people employed by a Memphis tax firm were charged this week in a $1.1-million fraud scheme taking money from a COVID-19 relief fund.
The charges were unsealed Monday by U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant. They claim that Brandy D. Scaife, 42; Janisha L. Jones, 22; and Sharika L. Carpenter, 42; of Better Days Tax Service committed wire fraud and conspiracy.
The charges claim that between April 2020 and June 2020, the three defrauded the Small Business Administration in excess of $1 million. The scheme resulted in 401 fraudulently filed applications seeking Economic Injury Disaster loans for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Numerous applications were submitted using false information. These false loan applications netted the three about $1.1 million.
If convicted, each defendant faces up to 30 years in federal prison. 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," Dunavant said.
The Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General investigated this case.