A Gwinnett County, Georgia, woman has been charged in a federal indictment with leading a scheme to submit dozens of fraudulent applications for COVID-19 small business relief funding.
Ashlee Parker, 39, of Dacula, Ga., is charged with Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Bank Fraud; seven counts of Wire Fraud; False Document; Money Laundering Conspiracy; and False Statement, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The primary charge carries a statutory penalty upon conviction of up to 30 years in federal prison followed by up to five years of supervised release, along with substantial financial penalties and restitution to the U.S. government. There is no parole in the federal system.
“The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was funded to help small businesses struggling from the effects of a global pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “In far too many cases, however, it has been exploited by those seeking to milk these relief programs for their personal profit. With our diligent law enforcement partners, we will continue to identify and hold accountable anyone who violates the law to siphon money from these programs.”
As described in the indictment, Parker is owner of Proficient Tax LLC, The Harris Parker Group LLC, and AMP Credit Solutions LLC. The indictment alleges that from about May 2020 to April 2021, Parker submitted more than two dozen fraudulent applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to the U.S. Small Business Administration in her name on behalf of The Harris Parker Group LLC, AMP Credit Solutions LLC, and other companies. Co-conspirators also allegedly paid Proficient Tax LLC in exchange for Parker submitting fraudulent applications on their behalf for EIDL and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding.
The indictment alleges that “as a result of Parker’s scheme the United States was defrauded out of over $2 million,” and that Parker transferred $13,955 of the fraudulent proceeds to a cosmetic surgery clinic “for a breast augmentation procedure and abdominoplasty with flank liposuction.”
Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan A. Porter and Ryan C. Grover.
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.