COVID-19 fraud system at Mt. Vernon
Alicia Ayers, Andrea Ayers and Traci Proctor arrested for submitting more than 300 US Small Business Administration economic disaster loan applications totaling $ 1.6 million.
On March 24, 2021, ALICIA AYERS, ANDREA AYERS and TRACI PROCTOR were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, misrepresentation and aggravated identity theft as part of a scheme aimed at defrauding the US Small Business Administration (“SBA”), causing the SBA to lose more than $ 1.6 million The three defendants were arrested this morning.
Andrea Ayers is a civilian employee with the Mt. Vernon Police Department. Alicia Ayers is a travel agent and financial advisor. The two Ayers family members were arrested at Mt. Vernon. Traci Proctor was arrested in Georgia.
US lawyer Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, the defendants conspired to defraud the SBA by submitting disaster loan and grant applications for non-existent companies. In doing so, they stole funds intended for the many small businesses struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank the FBI and the SBA-OIG for their partnership in investigating the alleged scheme. ”
In June and July 2020, ALICIA AYERS, ANDREA AYERS and TRACI PROCTOR used the identities of approximately 300 other people (the “Applicants”) to submit approximately 315 online requests to the SBA, seeking more than $ 3 million in funds. through the SBA’s EIDL program. . (the “EIDL Applications”). As part of the EIDL claims, ALICIA AYERS, ANDREA AYERS and PROCTOR falsely stated to the SBA, among others, that the claimants were owners of businesses with ten or more employees. In fact, however, the apps were wrongly reporting the number of employees of the companies, and the vast majority of the so-called companies appear not to have existed at all. Based on the fraudulent EIDL claims, the SBA made advances of approximately $ 1,690,000 to claimants, who often subsequently retroceded a portion of the down payments to ALICIA AYERS, ANDREA AYERS and TRACI PROCTOR.
ALICIA AYERS, 34, and ANDREA AYERS, 54, of Mount Vernon, New York, and TRACI PROCTOR, 47, of Clarkston, Ga., Are charged (1) with conspiracy to commit electronic fraud, punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. prison, (2) wire fraud, punishable by up to 2 years in prison, (3) misrepresentation, punishable by up to five years in prison, and (4) aggravated identity theft, punishable by a mandatory sentence of two consecutive years of sentence.
FBI Deputy Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: ‘As small businesses across the country clamored for the economic support they desperately needed after the first quarter of the pandemic, those charged today are said to have viewed the SBA’s economic disaster loan program as nothing more than an opportunity to make a quick profit. As alleged, Ayers, Ayers and Proctor have filed over 300 claims online on behalf of others that included false information to support their claims. This resulted in payments of nearly $ 1.7 million from the SBA, part of which was received by the defendants in the form of bribes. No matter how creative the program is, rest assured that those who siphon money from taxpayer funded programs will be aggressively prosecuted. This investigation is still ongoing and we ask anyone with information to call us at 1-800-CALL-FBI or reach us online at tips.fbi.gov.