Manu Vega/Moment/Getty Images

An Instagram model with three children to support is pleading with Internet users to donate money to GoFundMe to help her repay a PPP loan.

The woman named Lakeisha G. applied for an emergency Covid-19 relief loan and was approved for $20,000 in 2020.

Millions of Americans were also approved for loans for small businesses that only exist on paper or in their minds.

Ozgurdonmaz/E+/Getty Images

Those fraudsters are now scrambling to find the cash to repay the loans or buy time to avoid prison.

Lakeisha launched a GoFundMe page to raise the money to repay her loan. So far, she has raised nearly $4,000 of her $20,000 goal.

The desperate mom wrote: "I got 20k ppp loan now the feds after me plz help I can't do jail!! I got 3 kids dat need me!!!"

In an update on Monday, she wrote: "Keep the donations coming y'all my kids need me out here frfr [sic]."

MangoStar_Studio/iStock/Getty Images+

In Georgia, hundreds of people have already been charged with submitting false claims to exploit taxpayer funded pandemic relief programs.

On March 24, ten people in Georgia, Washington DC and Maryland were arrested and charged with working as a group "to submit fraudulent loan applications on behalf of non-existent businesses as part of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)."

The defendants include 38-year-old Alicia Quarterman of Fayetteville, Georgia, who received $490,000. And Katrina Lawson, a former deputy sheriff for Fulton County, Georgia, who obtained at least $224,000 in PPP loans.

"The defendants allegedly abused both programs by submitting fraudulent applications and obtaining thousands of dollars that should have gone to support struggling businesses," wrote Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine in a statement. "We will work tirelessly to protect the integrity of the EIDL and PPP and to help small businesses stay afloat."

Photo may have been deleted

Polk County Sheriff

The Polk County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of an 11th suspect who received $2,000 in federal CARES Act Funds intended for residents who were financially impacted by Covid-19.

Saget Genoret, 33, a Publix employee in Lakeland, was arrested after he used a falsified letter on a Publix letterhead to apply for the $2,000 benefits. Genoret claimed Publix cut his hours due to the pandemic.

During a Friday afternoon press conference, Sheriff Grady Judd announced the arrests of 10 suspects who fraudulently obtained Covid relief funds.

Judd said the fraud started with 49-year-old Phyllis Tirado -- a manager of McDonald's located at 416 West Central Avenue in Lake Wales.

TIrado didn't apply for funds herself, but she allegedly falsified a letter for a McDonald's worker whom she "felt sorry" for.

The employee, 34-year-old Ebony Chaney, received $2,000 in Covid relief funds from the federal CARES Act distributed through the Polk County CARES ACT program.

Authorities say Chaney didn't qualify for the funds she received.

"[Tirado] felt sorry for her employees," Judd explained. "Thought they could use some extra money so she dummied up a letter for one."

The form was then altered to remove Chaney's information and copies were handed out to employees at Publix, a literacy program, and the Scott Lake Health & Rehabilitation.

Photo may have been deleted

"In some instances," Judd said, "they took signed forms, scanned them in... and then wrote the information in. interestingly enough, in one of them, they spelled Phyllis' name wrong."

Judd added: "Yesterday, when we started arresting people, if you were in line at McDonald's, and you got your hamburger and it was cold, it's because we were arresting people."

The investigation, which began in June, is still ongoing. Judd said more arrests are expected. He issued a word of warning to anyone who stole money from the CARES Act: "If I were you, I would beat feet down to the county and give that money back before we figure it out."

He said the judge is more likely to be lenient with those who returned the funds before sheriff's deputies show up at their door with arrest warrants.

The suspects were charged with Obtaining Property by Fraud, Grand Theft, and Criminal Use of Personal ID.

One man, Mervin Suttle, 36, of Bartow, was also charged with fraudulently receiving food stamps and unemployment.

Another suspect, Patricia Taylor, 38, of Lakeland, worked as an LPN at a nursing home.

All of the suspects lost their jobs following their arrests.
 

Photo may have been deleted

Atlanta US Attorney's Office

The feds are cracking down on Georgia employees who submitted fake medical excuse letters that claim they fell ill after testing positive for Covid-19.

Santwon Antonio Davis, of Atlanta, was charged with wire fraud for emailing a phony Covid-19 medical excuse letter to his employer in May 2020.

Davis, 35, also pleaded guilty to bank fraud related to the scheme to defraud a mortgage company while he was out on bond for the Covid-19 wire fraud charge.

"The defendant caused unnecessary economic loss to his employer and distress to his coworkers and their families," said U.S. Attorney Byung J. "BJay" Pak. "We will take quick action through the Georgia COVID-19 Task Force to put a stop to Coronavirus-related fraud schemes."

Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said Davis caused "undue harm to the company he worked for and their employees," after the corporation sent employees home and shut down the Atlanta facility for cleaning.

Employees were paid to stay home - a loss in excess of $100,000 to the corporation, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Georgia.

According to the complaint, the defendant was hit with an additional charge for submitting fraudulent documentation to obtain benefits from his employer prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Davis allegedly submitted a paid bereavement leave claim for the death of his child in the fall of 2019. But a subsequent investigation determined the child did not exist.

Davis' arrest is among the first in Covid-19-related employee fraud investigations currently underway in Georgia.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General.

"The FBI and our federal and state partners remain vigilant in detecting, investigating and prosecuting any fraud related to this crisis we are all facing," said Hacker.