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Shutterstock.com/Erik Cox Photography
Shutterstock.com/Erik Cox Photography

Woman Reportedly Wastes $150K COVID-19 Relief Loan on Herself — Here's What Happened

Gaone Pule
Mar 01, 2021
02:20 P.M.

A woman from Charlotte appeared in court on February 22 on federal charges. The woman was identified as Jasmine Johnnae Clifton, according to the Department of Justice.

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Jasmine Johnnae Clifton was charged for fraudulently obtaining a COVID-19 loan for almost $150,000 from the US Small Business Administration (SBA). Clifton was also found guilty of other charges.

On February 17, a grand jury gave Clifton a formal notice on charges of wire fraud concerning a disaster benefit and fraud connected with a major disaster or emergency. Clifton allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud the SBA.

A member of the U.S. Marshals Service walks in front of the Federal District court for the Southern District of Florida on October 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida | Photo: Getty Images

A member of the U.S. Marshals Service walks in front of the Federal District court for the Southern District of Florida on October 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida | Photo: Getty Images

She received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) based on false information. There is also a federal law act designed to provide financial assistance to millions of people affected by the pandemic.

EIDL is a program that provides financing at a low rate to small businesses in places affected by the disaster. The indictment found that Clifton created her online retail clothing business, in April 2019.

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Trial of brothers Lyle & Erik Menendez of Parricides | Photo: Getty Images

Trial of brothers Lyle & Erik Menendez of Parricides | Photo: Getty Images

On July 24 the following year, she submitted a fraudulent loan application for her business, despite having closed shop several months prior. As a result, she received $149,000 in disaster relief funds.

On August 14, 2020, the funds were deposited directly into her bank account. She then misused the funds for her pleasure and went on a shopping spree at luxury retail stores.

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According to People, Clifton could spend 30 years in prison for each of her charges and could be required to pay a fine equalling to 1 million for the charge of wire fraud. Regarding the charge with a major disaster, she could pay up to a $250,000 fine.

After her appearance in court, 24-year-old Clifton was released on bond. According to WBTV, Clifton’s defender reportedly declined to comment on the case.

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A similar incident to her case also occurred in July last year. A business owner from Florida also duped the government and was paid 3.9 million in coronavirus relief fund.

The 29-year-old allegedly splashed the money on a Lamborghini and luxury hotels. Federal officials apprehended the man identified as David T. Hines for bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution, and engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds.

He received approval for three Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications. Following the approval, he allegedly used the funds to purchase a Lamborghini worth $318,000.

Hines also reportedly spent thousands of dollars at luxury stores and luxury resorts in Miami Beach. Before receiving the funds, his bank accounts had a balance of just 30 cents.

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