MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG)– Fourteen people in Marshall County and DeSoto County were arrested Wednesday for allegedly conspiring to fraudulently obtain funds through the Payroll Protection Program of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
The funds were intended to protect employees of endangered businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to court documents, the following people were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud by fraudulently applying for PPP loans along with participating in wire transfers over $10,000 involving proceeds of a fraud scheme:
- Robert Pearson, 52 years old, Holly Springs
- Lakisha Jones Pearson, 46 years old, Holly Springs
- Glendon Jones, 29 years old, Red Banks
- Roneisha Dennis, 30 years old, Red Banks;
- Devonte Smith, 27 years old, Holly Springs
- Jaliyah Godwin, 26 years old, Olive Branch
- Jacoby Alexander, 39 years old, Holly Springs
- Kevin Anderson, 41 years old, Lamar
- Melvin Harris, 26 years old, Holly Springs
- Dametris Pearson, 27 years old, Southaven
- Terrance Isom, age unknown, Southaven
- Mareceo Hobson, 28 years old, Olive Branch
- Dianne Cox, 67 years old, Byhalia
- Doris Pearson, 56 years old, Olive Branch
The indictment charges all fourteen with conspiracy to obtain the funds by filing false and fraudulent PPP applications and using the loan money for allegedly funding other businesses, purchasing real estate and personal property, paying personal expenses, and paying “kickbacks” to defendants Robert Pearson, Lakisha Pearson and Glendon Jones.
According to the indictment, fraudulent businesses included a tax service in Marshall County, a lawn service in Byhalia, and numerous freight, trucking, and brokerage business.
Documents show the defendants are accused of misusing PPP funds and spending thousands on off-road vehicles and high-priced luxury cars including a Pontiac Firebird, Jaguar, Ford F-150 pickup truck, Kenworth semi-industrial lawn mowers, and spending $71,000 on a GMC Yukon.
In addition to currency seized, the indictment also lists property in Marshall and Desoto Counties as well as the vehicles allegedly purchased with PPP loan money.
All fourteen suspects face a maximum penalty of 30 years for conspiracy and wire fraud violations and 10 years for financial transaction charges if they are convicted.
We tried several addresses to see if any of the accused wanted to talk but got no answer or were told to “go away.”