MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Five current or former IRS employees in the Mid-South are charged with defrauding federal COVID-19 relief programs, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
According to court documents, employees obtained funds under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) by submitting false and fraudulent loan applications that collectively requested over a million dollars.
The Justice Department said the money was used for cars, luxury goods and personal travel, including trips to Las Vegas.
The five people charged are Brian Saulsberry, 46, of Memphis; Courtney Quinshe Westmoreland, 38, of Cordoba; Fatina Hewitt, 35, of Olive Branch, Mississippi; Roderick DeMarco White II, 27, of Memphis; and Tina Humes, 56, of Memphis.
Brian Saulsberry is charged with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. According to the indictment, Saulsberry, who worked as a program and risk assessment analyst in the Office of Human Capital, applied for at least $501,400 in loans from the EIDL program and obtained $171,400 in funds.
He reportedly spent some of the money on a Mercedez-Benz and deposited the funds into a personal investment account.
Courtney Westmoreland is charged with three counts of wire fraud. The indictment said she applied for at least $32,500 in loans on behalf of an alleged apparent business and obtained $11,500 in funds while working as a contact representative in the service center department of salaries and investments.
She reportedly used the money for luxury clothing and personal services, including manicures and massages.
The Justice Department also says she submitted fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits claiming she was not employed by the federal government. Court documents show she was awarded $16,050 in unemployment benefits.
Fatina Hewitt is charged with one count of wire fraud.
Hewitt allegedly submitted multiple applications to the EIDL program for an alleged fashion business and sought $338,900 in loans while working at the IRS as a management and program assistant. She received $28,900 in funds.
Court documents say Hewitt spent the money on Gucci clothes and a trip to Las Vegas.
Hewitt pleaded guilty to the wire fraud charge on Tuesday.
Roderick DeMarco White II is charged with one count of wire fraud.
White, who worked for the IRS as a contact representative in the Center for Payroll and Investment Services department, submitted four fraudulent PPP and EIDL program loans for a bogus calling company and received 66,666 $.
He allegedly used the funds for personal items, including a Gucci satchel.
White pleaded guilty to wire fraud on August 25.
Tina Humes is charged with one count of wire fraud after documents claim she submitted four PPP and EIDL program applications asking for $133,812 in loans. She received $123,612.
The Justice Department says Humes spent the money on jewelry and trips to Las Vegas.
She pleaded guilty to the wire fraud charge on July 27.
Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and each count of money laundering carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
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