ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WRIC) — Two Woodbridge residents have been ordered to pay $336,536 after allegedly defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program — a federal program that gives loans to small businesses to support employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the program, loans were provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA), a federal agency that “provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise” to small businesses, according to the administration’s website.
As part of the application, borrowers from the program were required to provide their income and supporting documents to determine the loan amount, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Bernice Suppey, 40, and 42-year-old Kwaku Adubofour, of Woodbridge, allegedly received four loans by submitting applications with inflated income and falsified tax documents.
Based on these fraudulent applications, the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia found Suppey and Adubofour liable for the following:
- Violating the False Claims Act — a law which holds that any person who knowingly submits false claims to the government must pay three times the government’s damages, in addition to an adjustment for inflation
- Conspiring to violate the False Claims Act
- Violating the Financial Institutions Reform, Recover, and Enforcement Act — a law that created new federal regulations for savings and loan institutions, as well as real estate appraisers.
On Sept. 7, the Court entered a judgment that ordered Suppey and Adubofour to pay $336,356 based on their fraudulent applications for multiple loans through the program.
“This recovery is a direct result of the concerted efforts of SBA and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia to investigate claims of fraud in SBA’s COVID-relief programs and to recover funds lost through fraud from individuals and companies that engage in such activities,” said the association’s general counsel, Therese Meers.