Former BOP Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty to Committing COVID-Relief Fraud

1 min read
FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

Jackson, Miss. – A Flora woman pleaded guilty today to carrying out a scheme to defraud the COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), announced U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge James F. Boyersmith with the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ OIG) Miami Field Office.

According to court documents, Tarshuana Thomas, 34, of Flora, fraudulently applied for two PPP loans. Thomas claimed to be the sole proprietor of a dog breeding and sitting service. From those fraudulently obtained funds, Thomas received $12,586, which she spent on personal, non-business related expenses. Thomas was employed as a Correctional Officer with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) Yazoo City when she applied for the loans.  

Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced on February 16, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Purdie is prosecuting the case.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force 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. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

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.