By Bill Estep, Lexington Herald-Leader (TNS)
A Central Kentucky accountant who created fake financial documents used in fraudulent applications for coronavirus relief loans has been fined $30,000.
Tammy Jo Goodwin, of Nicholasville, was fined after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She also will be on probation for five years. The sentence includes a requirement to perform 200 hours of community service and 180 days of home detention.
She admitted she prepared fake payroll and tax documents for Randall “Rocky” Blankenship Jr. to use in applications for funding which Congress had approved to help businesses with the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, according to court documents.
Blankenship had already received a $750,000 loan through the Paycheck Protection Program for his business, KY Bluegrass RV and Camping LLC, when he submitted applications for more loans in the names of four shell companies, according to Goodwin’s plea agreement.
The companies had no employees, but Blankenship claimed they had significant payroll costs and asked Goodwin to prepare documents to support the false claims, according to court records.
Blankenship received a total of $1.3 million in loans. Not all the applications used documents from Goodwin.
He used the money for a vacation property in South Carolina, improvements to his farm, cash for himself and to feed his gambling habit, according to a federal sentencing memorandum.
U.S. District Judge Karen C. Caldwell sentenced Blankenship to three years and six months in prison and fined him $30,000.
He sold his business to repay the coronavirus loans, according to a court document.
Blankenship paid Goodwin just two-tenths of 1% of what he received through fraud, according to a sentencing memo by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul McCaffrey.
That would have been about $2,600.
The prosecutor said Goodwin had led an otherwise law-abiding life, been in a relationship since 1985, run her own business for almost 30 years and taken on the responsibility of raising a grandson.
“The government has not been able to answer the question of why this Defendant, with a successful small business and stable personal life, would join a criminal conspiracy with a rogue like Blankenship for almost no personal financial benefit,” the sentencing memo said.
Caldwell sentenced Goodwin on Monday.
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