Texas woman accused of using $3.7M in PPP loans for homes, Chanel
Ladonna Wiggins allegedly bought two Texas houses and a Land Rover, plus spent tens of thousands elsewhere.
A 37-year-old woman in Texas has been indicted on charges that she secured a $3.7 million Paycheck Protection Program loan and spent the funds on luxury items for herself.
LaDonna Wiggins of Houston has been indicted for bank fraud, making a false statement to a bank and money laundering. She faces up to 30 years in prison for misappropriating funds meant to save businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Justice Department alleges that Wiggins, with that money, purchased two homes totaling $725,000, paid $78,000 on a 2020 Land Rover, plus spent over $63,000 at Chanel, $14,000 at Apple and more elsewhere.
On Wednesday, the day after Wiggins appeared in federal court, her attorney released a statement decrying the charges.
“We are very disappointed to learn that the government has decided to pursue criminal charges against our client, LaDonna Wiggins, after our repeated requests to sit down and discuss this matter with them,” it read.
“Ms. Wiggins is innocent of the charges brought against her in a nine-count indictment, as well as any and all allegations of wrongdoing which the government has lodged against her. Contrary to their allegations, Ms. Wiggins is a highly successful, young, African American businesswoman who has cultivated several thriving local businesses and is an upstanding member of and an asset to the Houston community.”
Wiggins is an entrepreneur whose businesses — the Ahmale Bar & Lounge, Wiggins & Graham Enterprises, LLC and Pink Lady Line — were issued two PPP loans totaling $3.7 million.
Under the CARES Act, PPP loans were designated for “certain permissible expenses, such as payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. Interest and principal on PPP loans can be entirely forgiven if the business spent the loan proceeds on these expense items within a designated period of time.”
PPP loan fraud has been a rampant issue. Former NFL player Josh Bellamy was indicted last year in a scheme that helped several people apply for more than $24 million in federal loans.
Bellamy is also accused of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funds on luxury goods.