By Staff Writer

AUGUSTA, Ga, (CW44 News At 10)–  A woman who admitted to submitting loan applications containing knowingly false representations in an effort to secure COVID-19 relief loans has been sentenced in U.S. District Court and ordered to pay restitution.

Jacinthia Williams, 44, of Augusta, was sentenced to 12 months plus one day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to Wire Fraud, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Chief U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall also ordered Williams to pay $61,600 in restitution.

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“Funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Security (CARES) Act was provided to help small businesses survive pandemic-related losses,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “When unscrupulous actors attempt to swindle the funds for their own enrichment, those criminals will be held accountable.”

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As described in court documents and testimony, in June and July 2020 Williams applied for and received three loans totaling $137,500 under the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program comprised of funds appropriated by the CARES Act. Williams has already paid a portion of the fraudulently obtained loans back to the SBA.

In pleading guilty to the charges, Williams admitted falsifying the loan applications by inflating the number of employees of the businesses and the amount of money those businesses earned prior to the pandemic-induced economic downturn. She also admitted to spending some of the loan proceeds on purely personal matters.

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“Making false statements to fraudulently gain access to SBA’s disaster assistance loan programs is unacceptable,” said Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, Special Agent in Charge of the SBA Office of Inspector General’s Eastern Region.