NewsMom and Daughter Sentenced to Prison After Stealing $1.7M Intended For Their...

Mom and Daughter Sentenced to Prison After Stealing $1.7M Intended For Their Community

Nationwide — 37-year-old Alicia Ayers and her mom, 57-year-old Andrea of Mount Vernon, New York, have been sentenced to two years in prison followed by six months of home confinement and 42 months in prison, respectively, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements in connection with a scheme to defraud the U.S. Small Business Administration, resulting in a loss to the SBA of approximately $1.7 million.

Both Alicia and Andrea previously pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Nelson S. Román, who imposed today’s sentences.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “These defendants stole from a taxpayer-funded program intended to help small businesses that were in desperate need of assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. As their convictions and sentences reflect, my Office is determined to continue to work to bring to justice those who exploit and defraud government programs during a national emergency. I thank the FBI and the career prosecutors of this Office for their outstanding work investigating and prosecuting this scheme.”

According to the Indictment, other public filings, and statements made in court:

The SBA is a federal agency of the Executive Branch that administers assistance to American small businesses. This assistance includes making direct loans to applicants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) Program. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress expanded the SBA’s EIDL Program to provide small businesses with low-interest loans of up to $2 million prior to in or about May 2020 and up to $150,000 beginning in or about May 2020 in order to provide vital economic support to help overcome the loss of revenue small businesses were experiencing due to COVID-19. Applicants seeking a loan under the EIDL program were also permitted to request and receive an advance of approximately $1,000 per employee, for an amount up to $10,000, which the SBA generally provided while the loan application was pending.

In June and July 2020, both Alicia and Andrea, a former Code Enforcement Officer for the City of Mount Vernon Police Department, used the identities of approximately 300 other individuals (the “Applicants”) to submit approximately 315 online applications to the SBA, seeking over $3 million of funds through the SBA’s EIDL Program. In connection with the EIDL Applications, ALICIA AYERS and ANDREA AYERS falsely represented to the SBA that the applicants were the owners of businesses with 10 or more employees.

However, that was a lie – as both of them knew, the applicants did not employ the number of people reported, and the majority of the applicants did not own businesses or have any employees. Based on the fraudulent EIDL Applications, the SBA made advance payments of approximately $1,690,000 to the applicants, who then kicked back a portion of the advance payments to both the convicted mom and daughter.

In addition to their prison terms, both were each sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay forfeiture in the amount of $1,690,000 and to pay restitution to the SBA in the amount of $1,690,000.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey C. Coffman and Courtney L. Heavey are in charge of the prosecution.



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