United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced the return of an indictment charging Passion Lajodia Jackson, of Ocala, for fraud relating to COVID-19 relief funds. Jackson is charged with one count of wire fraud related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
If convicted, the Florida woman faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Her case is set for trial before Senior United States District Judge Gregory A. Presnell in October 2023.
According to the indictment, between April 2, 2021, and April 6, 2021, Jackson devised a scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration (SBA). During this time, she applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan under the CARES Act. It is alleged that Jackson made false representations and provided false documentation to obtain the loan. The United States is seeking an order of forfeiture for at least $20,132, which represents the unlawful proceeds of the offense charged in the indictment.
An indictment is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a federal criminal offense. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Hannah Nowalk.
In May 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866?720?5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form online.