Louisville woman charged with fraud related to CARES Act, PPP program

Published 12:37 pm Monday, May 29, 2023

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A federal grand jury in Louisville has indicted a Louisville woman on several charges related to fraud involving the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) financial assistance program.

Rachel Finley, 54, faces three counts of wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud and two counts of money laundering, according to the U.S Attorney’s office for the Western District of Kentucky.

According to the indictment, between April 9, 2020, and August 11, 2022, Finley filed two fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, resulting in the theft of $117,990, using the business Private Label Vintage & Spirits, a Kentucky Limited Liability Company, to file the applications.

It is alleged she falsely exaggerated the number of employees and payroll expenses of the entity in the fraudulent applications. Finley further applied for forgiveness for one of the loans, falsely stating the amount that had been spent on payroll.

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The Small Business Administration PPP loans were designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses who were in operation on February 15, 2020, to keep their workers on the payroll. PPP loan proceeds were required to be used by the business on certain permissible expenses. The PPP loans could be entirely forgiven if the business spent the loan proceeds on the allowable expenses within a designated period and used a certain percentage of the PPP loan proceeds on payroll expenses.

The charges came after an investigation was conducted by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Great Lakes Field Division.

Finley made her initial court appearance Thursday before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at U.S. District Court in Louisville. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 140 years in prison. However, a federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. There is no parole in the federal system.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.