FLORIDA — An Ocala woman has pleaded guilty to fraud related to COVID-19 relief funds she received in 2021.
Passion Lajodia Jackson, 30, of Ocala, has admitted guilt to one count of wire fraud relating to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, according to United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg. Jackson is subject to a potential sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a forfeiture order for at least $20,132, representing the profits from the crime.
A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida (USAO), Jackson applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan online from the Small Business Administration on April 2, 2021. Her application reportedly included inaccurate information.
Jackson also backed up her application with a fake Internal Revenue Service document, prosecutors said. On April 6, 2021, Jackson illegally obtained a $20,132 PPP loan based on the false information she provided. The loan was electronically wired to her bank account. Within 30 days of receiving the loan, Jackson withdrew the funds in cash.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Hannah Nowalk.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Justice Department’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.