West Virginia woman admits COVID-19 loan fraud scheme

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia woman has admitted accepting more than $42,000 in paycheck protection loans under a federal COVID-19 relief program for businesses who were not engaged in a substantial activity.

Alexis Ransom, 24, of Logan, pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire fraud in federal court in Charleston.

Ransom obtained three loans backed by the Small Business Administration under the CARES Act, which provided emergency financial assistance to Americans affected by the economic impact caused by the pandemic. The SBA would cancel the loans if the borrower determined that the proceeds were being used for payroll, rent, or other approved business expenses.

Ransom admitted to falsely stating that his two businesses were established in 2019 and had substantial revenues. She got two paycheck protection loans of $14,000 each for Renae’s Fashion Consulting LLC and a $14,375 loan for Momma & Me Boutique, court records show.

Ransom then requested that all three loans be canceled even though she had not spent the loan proceeds on allowable business expenses. The SBA canceled its loans in August 2021, according to court records.

The ransom faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine upon sentencing on Nov. 16. She also agreed to pay restitution.

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