Arkansas woman charged with nearly $2 million COVID-19 relief fraud

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — An Arkansas woman is accused of siphoning off nearly $2 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), money she allegedly used to fund a lavish shopping spree and pay off a student loan.

Ganell Tubbs, 41, of Little Rock, applied for COVID-19 relief funds through the PPP on behalf of two companies, The Little Piglet Soap Company, LLC and Suga Girl Customs, LLC. Neither company is in good standing, according to the Arkansas secretary of state, and both have Tubbs’ home phone number and address as contact information on file.

A Press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office says Tubbs claimed that Suga Girl Customs paid $1,385,903 in salaries and allowances during the first quarter of 2020. She submitted the PPP application on April 30 and was approved for a loan of $1,518,887.

Tubbs received the money on May 5 and two days later spent $8,000 paying off a student loan, according to the indictment. A week later, prosecutors say she shopped online, spending about $6,000 on products from Apple, Michael Kors, Sephora, Northface, Nike and others.

Tubbs’ second PPP application for The Little Piglet Soap Company on May 5 landed him a loan of $414,375, according to the press release.

“Many businesses across Arkansas are struggling to stay open during this COVID-19 pandemic, so our office has zero tolerance for anyone who fraudulently uses federal funds intended to help businesses through this difficult time,” said said FBI Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch. “Alongside our federal and state partners, we will remain vigilant against fraudsters and ensure PPP funds are used as intended.”

Tubbs faces two counts of bank fraud, two counts of misrepresentation on a loan application and one count of participating in a monetary transaction with the proceeds of illegal activities.

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