Oklahoma woman pleads guilty in $32m Covid relief fraud

An Oklahoma woman who was part of a scheme to scam more than $32 million from a Covid relief fund designed to keep businesses afloat pleaded guilty on Wednesday, federal prosecutors said.

Amanda J. Gloria, 45, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering, the Justice Department said in a statement.

She was accused in June of helping a New York man get a nearly $1 million loan with the Paycheck Protection Program, using fake pay stubs and other documents.

She also submitted and obtained about $421,000 from the pandemic relief program using a trucking company she owned but had not been active since 2017, according to Justice Department and court documents associated with million dollar deal.

The Justice Department said Gloria admitted on Wednesday to conspiring to submit at least 153 fraudulent PPP applications on behalf of 111 entities from May 2020 to June 2021.

The entities illegally obtained about $32.5 million in PPP funds, and she obtained $1.7 million, the Justice Department said in a statement. Gloria admitted that she faked and helped falsify information in the claims and then either submitted it herself or helped, he said.

Gloria’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday evening.

Guilty plea papers did not appear to be online Wednesday evening.

In the million dollar deal, Gloria conspired with Adam Arena of Little Valley, New York to seek a $954,000 PPP loan that was supposed to go to Arena’s business.

The loan was made even though Arena’s automotive group business had no employees and hadn’t been in business since 2018. Arena then paid Gloria about $24,000, according to court documents in its case.

Arena pleaded guilty in November to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and another count involving illegally obtained money transactions, according to the Justice Department.

The Paycheck Protection Program offered repayable loans under Congress’ massive Covid-19 relief package, first passed in 2020. It was intended to help businesses stay afloat during the pandemic.

It was part of the CARES Act, which Congress passed in March 2020, when the pandemic shut down businesses, schools, and much of the rest of daily life in the United States.

Gloria, who is due to be sentenced on July 20, faces up to 40 years in prison, the Justice Department said.

Arena has not yet been sentenced. Prosecutors have asked for a sentence of at least 63 months, or five years and three months, according to court documents in his case.

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