A Little Rock woman was arrested late Thursday for allegedly defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program out of nearly $2 million in loans.
Cody Hiland, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Diane Upchurch, special agent in charge of the FBI Little Rock Field Office, announced the indictment of 41-year-old Ganell Tubbs. She has been released on bond.
Tubbs faces two counts of bank fraud, two counts of making a false statement on a loan application and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction with proceeds of unlawful activity.
According to the indictment, Tubbs submitted a PPP application on April 30 that stated she owned Suga Girl Customs LLC and that the business had paid $1.39 million in wages and compensation during the first quarter of 2020. She was approved for a PPP loan of $1.52 million and received the funds on May 5.
Tubbs allegedly used the money to make an $8,000 payment on her personal student loan and buy about $6,000 of items online, from retailers that include Apple, Michael Kors, Sephora, North Face and Nike.
On May 5, the indictment reads, Tubbs submitted another PPP application stating she owned The Little Piglet Soap Co. LLC. She received a $414,375 loan for that business.
According to the Arkansas secretary of state, neither business is in good standing, and both businesses list Tubbs’ residence and personal phone number as their contact information.
"These loans are meant to help small business owners who have suffered economically due to COVID-19 shutdowns," Hiland said in a news release. "Hardworking Arkansans are at their best when they are free to keep their businesses open during this challenging time, and we will be diligent in investigating and prosecuting those who take advantage of these critical funds."
Upchurch added, "Numerous businesses across Arkansas are struggling to remain open during this COVID-19 pandemic, so our office has zero tolerance for anyone who fraudulently misuses federal funds intended to help companies weather this tough time. Alongside our federal and state partners, we will remain vigilant against fraudsters and ensure that PPP funds are used as intended."