Yakima woman pleads guilty to wire fraud for falsely applying for pandemic relief funds | Crime And Courts | #phishing | #scams

A Yakima woman has pleaded guilty to fraudulently receiving more than $59,000 in pandemic relief funds.

Karla Leticia Padilla, 48, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Yakima Thursday to a single count of wire fraud. She was originally charged with four counts of wire fraud and three counts of filing false claims.

Judge Mary K. Dimke scheduled a sentencing hearing for Dec. 20.

Padilla, who is also identified in court papers as Karla Padilla-Reyna, applied more than $250,000 in federal funding under the Payroll Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which were part of the federal coronavirus relief package President Joe Biden signed into law in March 2020, according to court records.

Court documents show that Padilla applied for the funding for her collectible car business, Queen B Collectibles. The business was not active nor did it have any employees, court documents said, and was not eligible for the relief programs.

She eventually received more than $59,000 in relief funds, with her applications for almost $200,000 denied, court records stated.

Padilla was arrested following an investigation by the COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force, which consists of representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, the FBI, U.S. Treasury Department, U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies.

Padilla will remain out of custody until the sentencing hearing, court documents said.

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