Former Atlanta Police Officer and Attorney Convicted in $7 Million PPP Loan Fraud Scheme

Shelitha Robertson, a former City of Atlanta police officer turned attorney, has been found guilty by a federal jury in the Northern District of Georgia for her role in a significant Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan fraud scheme. This conviction underscores the ongoing efforts to combat pandemic-related financial fraud.

Details of the Conviction
Robertson was convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. The jury found that she fraudulently obtained over $7 million in PPP loans by applying for these loans for her four businesses using deceptive means.

The Scheme Unveiled
During the trial, evidence revealed that Robertson exaggerated the number of employees and average monthly payroll in her loan applications to secure larger amounts. She supported these fraudulent claims with false tax documents, aided by a co-conspirator. Following the illegal acquisition of the funds, Robertson made extravagant purchases, including a 10-carat diamond ring, and distributed part of the money to family members and her co-conspirator.

Sentencing and Potential Penalties
Robertson’s sentencing is scheduled for April 11, 2024. She faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud and conspiracy, and up to 10 years for the money laundering charge. The final sentence will be determined by a federal district court judge, considering factors like the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Broader Investigation Context
This case is part of a larger investigation into a $15 million PPP fraud conspiracy, making Robertson the second defendant to be convicted in this scheme. Her co-conspirator had previously admitted guilt.

Joint Effort in Prosecution
The case announcement was made jointly by Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan, and Inspector Generals from various federal agencies. The investigation was conducted by the SBA-OIG, FDIC-OIG, and TIGTA, with Ariel Glasner from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bernita Malloy leading the prosecution.

National Efforts Against PPP Fraud
The Fraud Section of the Criminal Division has been at the forefront of combating PPP-related fraud schemes. They have successfully prosecuted over 200 defendants in more than 130 criminal cases since the introduction of the CARES Act, recovering over $78 million in fraudulently obtained funds and seizing valuable assets.

COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force
In May 2021, the Attorney General formed the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to lead the fight against pandemic-related fraud. This task force enhances investigations and prosecutions by collaborating with different government agencies.

Reporting COVID-19 Related Fraud
The Department of Justice urges the public to report any fraud related to COVID-19. Reports can be made through the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline or the NCDF Web Complaint Form.

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Shelitha Robertson’s conviction is a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to combat financial fraud exploiting pandemic relief programs. This case serves as a stark reminder of the legal consequences of such fraudulent activities and the commitment of law enforcement agencies to uphold integrity and justice.

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