9 May in federal court, St. Louis County resident Tawonna Ellis was charged with one count of wire fraud for fraudulently applying for and receiving $20,832 through the Paycheck Protection Program for a retail business that does not actually exist.
According to her indictment, in April 2021 Ellis submitted a PPP loan application that stated she ran a “merchandise-retail business” that did $100,000 in gross revenue in 2020.
The indictment states that Ellis “created the fictitious sole proprietorship for the purpose of receiving a PPP loan.”
Ellis allegedly spent the loan money on everyday expenses as well as designer clothing.
The case against Ellis is the latest in a string of cases being prosecuted in the district’s federal court against individuals accused of defrauding COVID relief-related programs.
More than $7 million of COVID relief–related fraud has either been prosecuted or is working its ways through the courts in the Eastern District of Missouri.