AROUND THE STATE: Woman pleads guilty to preparing over 110 fraudulent PPP loans totaling over $1.1 million

Staff Report

A former Louisiana woman pled guilty March 2 to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with preparing more than 110 fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling more than $1.1 million.

United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced 27-year-old Sharnae Every of Houston faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to any person, following by a term of supervised release for up to three years and a mandatory $100 fee.

The case against Every began as a referral from the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Accountability Committee regarding possible fraudulent PPP loans.

Investigators determined at least 110 PPP sole proprietor loan applications in and around the Thibodaux area all contained the same invoices and Schedule C federal tax forms with the same business name and amounts.

According to documents filed in federal court, Every created a fictitious business called "Natural Hair Afro, LLC, Houma, LA 70360" and used the fake business name on nearly all of the fraudulent PPP applications.

According to the Eastern District of Louisiana news release, Every advertised under various aliases on the social network Facebook to recruit people to obtain money from the PPP program.

Every reportedly prepared and submitted false loan applications via various online portals including Blueacorn.

Every created all of the false invoices, banks statements, and tax forms, and falsely certified that the applications and information provided were true and accurate when she electronically submitted the loan applications, according to the release.

Every reportedly charged the individuals she recruited between $45 to $120, and she primarily used Cash App to receive the initial payments. She then charged around $3,500 one the loans were funded. Every received the funds into her Current account, her Cash App account, or into her boyfriend's account.

Sentencing before Chief U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier has been set for June 8.

Assisting in the matter were the Veterans Administration, Office of the Inspector General; United States Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General; United States Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations; and the United States Secret Service’s Cyber Fraud Task Force, consisting of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, Thibodaux Police Department, and the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation with this matter. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit, and Assistant United States Attorney Edward Rivera, COVID-19 Fraud Coordinator.

The Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force Mary 17, 2021 to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.