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Lookout Mountain woman sentenced to prison in connection with $7.5 million multi-state fraud scheme
June 10, 2024


LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, TN – Two individuals have been sentenced in federal court in Boston for their roles in a multi-state scheme to obtain millions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds for themselves and others through the submission of dozens of fraudulent applications to PPP lenders.

Adiana Pierre, 39, of Lookout Mountain, Tenn., was sentenced on June 7, 2024 by U.S. District Court Judge Myong J. Joun to 17 months in prison and three years of supervised release on June 7, 2024. On May 28, 2024, Gardy Alexandre, 51, of West Palm Beach, Fla., was sentenced by Judge Joun to 15 months in prison and three years of supervised release in connection with the same scheme. A third defendant, Wallace Ford, 38, of Buford, Ga., will be sentenced at a later date. In February 2024, all three defendants pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to engage in unlawful monetary transactions.

Ford, Pierre and Alexandre conspired to submit fraudulent PPP applications on behalf of numerous actual or purported businesses and non-profit organizations across the United States – including businesses operated in Massachusetts – and to collect kickback payments from the borrowers for securing loan amounts.





Shortly after PPP funds first became available in April 2020, Ford began submitting PPP applications on behalf of his own businesses, Pierre, Alexandre and other borrowers. Pierre, Alexandre and others identified potential applicants and provided those applicants’ information to Ford. Ford then submitted applications for those borrowers online, fabricating employee numbers and monthly payroll expenses. Ford also submitted false wage and tax forms in support of the misrepresentations on the applications. As a result, between May and August 2020, Ford, Pierre, Alexandre and others obtained approximately $7 million in PPP funds.

The borrowers who received PPP funds based on these fraudulent applications paid kickbacks to Ford, Pierre, Alexandre and others, commonly in amounts equal to 10 or 20 percent of the loan amount they received. Collectively, Ford, Pierre and Alexandre received over $1 million in kickback payments from borrowers.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Harry Chavis, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Holcomb of the Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.





On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

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 (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form.

 















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