A 37-year-old Houston woman is alleged to have used money given to her by the government via the Paycheck Protection Program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to splurge on two houses, a new Land Rover, purses and more, according to the Justice Department.
On February 24, LaDonna Wiggins was indicted on charges of bank fraud, making a false statement to a bank and money laundering. If convicted, she faces up to 30 years in prison.
According to court documents, Wiggins purchased two homes, one in Katy and another in Cypress for a total of $725,000, spent $78,000 on a 2020 Land Rover, $63,000 at Chanel among other items. When she filled out two PPP loans, she received more than $3.6 million from the government.
Wiggins is the owner of the Ahmale Bar & Lounge (1916 Baldwin Street) and the two PPP loans in question were for businesses known as Wiggins & Graham Enterprises LLC and Pink Lady Line. Under the CARES Act, businesses are to use PPP loans for “certain permissible expenses, such as payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. Interest and principal on PPP loans can be entirely forgiven if the business spent the loan proceeds on these expense items within a designated period of time.”