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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Charlotte woman pleads guilty to $1.5 million COVID-19 scheme

A Charlotte woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to a $1.5 million COVID-19 fraud scheme in federal court.

Jeannetta Blackmon, 48, also known as Jeannetta Regan, pled guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges related to the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Relief Disaster Loan program.

From April 2020 to November 2021, Blackmon defrauded the Small Business Administration and SBA-backed lenders by filing false documents for relief funds for her businesses, J Renee Enterprises, Jeannetta Renee Girls Talk (JR Girls Talk) and Jrenee Investements (JR Investments).

The false information included income from the businesses, number of employees, gross revenue and expenses. She also created fabricated bank statements and checks in furtherance of the scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Blackmon received more than $319,000 in disaster relief funds. Blackmon also admitted to obtaining more than $300,000 in loan preparation fees from customers who paid Blackmon to prepare and submit on their behalf PPP and EIDL loan applications that contained false information, to include false employment data, inflated business income and expenses, and false tax information.

Based on the fraudulent information, Blackmon’s customers received more than $1.2 million in disaster relief funds. To avoid detection, Blackmon directed her customers to pay her fees in checks or peer-to-peer payments.

Blackmon was released on bond after her plea hearing. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for the money laundering offense is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has not been set.

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