Treisha Pearson, Lakisha Swope charged in $3.5-million PPP scheme

The two are accused of using the funds for lavish purchases, vacation rentals and more.

ATLANTA — Two metro Atlanta women are facing serious federal charges in an alleged scheme to steal over $3.5 million in Paycheck Protection (PPP) funds.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Friday Wednesday that 43-year-old Lakisha Swope of Alpharetta and 49-year-old Treisha Pearson of Brookhaven are facing charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering following a February indictment.

According to the DOJ, Swope, and Pearson, working together with others, “allegedly submitted false PPP applications for a number of entities claiming over $5 million in loans.”

Those applications allegedly contained false information regarding the number of employees and payroll. As a result of the false information, lenders issued over $3.5 million in loans to various entities. Swope and Pearson, along with others, then used the funds for items such as luxury clothing, restaurants, personal rent, hotels and vacation rentals.

“Swope and Pearson allegedly stole millions of dollars destined to help small business owners,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “PPP dollars often provide a bridge for businesses suffering from the effects of the pandemic. however, PPP funds are not unlimited, and those who seek to enrich themselves fraudulently through this program will be prosecuted.”

The case is now being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Thomas J. Krepp.

At this point, the two have not been convicted and the allegations against them remain charges until their cases are heard before the court.