Knoxville woman pleads guilty to fraudulently raising over $ 500,000 in COVID-19 relief loans | WJHL
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WATE) – The founder of a company that offers psychosocial rehabilitation services, as well as support services such as child care, tutoring, anger management and case management, has pleaded guilty to one count of carrying out an electronic fraud scheme.
Enlightenment Family Care Inc. CEO Porsha Tims Bush, 41, argued Thursday, August 5, in a United States district court.
According to court documents, from March to June 2020, Bush requested 10 COVID-19 relief loans over $ 547,000 through the Paycheque Protection Program and the Economic Disaster Loan Program of the Small Business Administration. Bush submitted bogus and fraudulent claims under the names of various companies that were not eligible for relief funds or that did not exist.
Bush submitted fabricated supporting documents and made false claims about the number of employees she had, the income she generated, and the number of salary expenses she incurred. Bush also made false representations about the legal entities and the intended use of the loan proceeds.
According to the US Attorney’s Office, Bush “used the money to pay off personal debts, pay for personal travel, buy clothes and electronics, and finance his daily lifestyle.”
In one case, on March 30, 2020, Bush submitted an online application to the SBA for $ 150,000 in EIDL funds for Enlightenment Family Care. In the request, Bush falsely claimed the company employed four people, generated over $ 335,000 in gross revenue, and paid salaries in excess of $ 45,000 in the 12 months leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also provided fraudulent service forms and tax returns.
Law enforcement has obtained warrants to seize approximately $ 77,820.44 of fraudulent proceeds held in three bank accounts controlled by Bush. As stated in the filed plea agreement, Bush will confiscate these seized funds from the United States. She also agreed to pay compensation to the victims of her fraud scheme in the amount of $ 471,621.
According to the Enlightenment Family Care website, the company offers PSR, a recovery-focused education program that provides an alternative to therapy by using education to promote and support recovery. The company has offices in Knoxville and Houston.
The penalty is set at 2 p.m. January 7. Bush faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $ 250,000 and a supervised release sentence of up to three years.