Florida Attorney Sentenced for COVID-19 Relief Fraud

Florida Attorney Sentenced for COVID-19 Relief Fraud

Shaquandra Woods, 41, has been sentenced to 75 months in federal prison for her involvement in a scheme to unlawfully acquire funding from a federal COVID-19 small business relief program. Woods, a resident of Jacksonville, Florida, was found guilty of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud in a trial presided over by U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker.

In addition to her prison sentence, Woods has been ordered to pay $42,848 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release. The sentencing comes after Woods was convicted of fabricating and submitting false documents to obtain Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the CARES Act.

Woods, who is licensed to practice law in both Florida and Georgia, completed at least nine fraudulent applications for EIDL funding, totaling more than $300,000. These funds were intended to assist small businesses facing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Attorney Jill E. Steinberg stated, “Shaquandra Woods prolifically filed fraudulent applications for COVID-19 pandemic relief funds for herself and for others.” She emphasized the commitment to prosecuting those who exploit taxpayer-funded programs for personal gain.

Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Will Clarke of FBI Atlanta’s Savannah Resident Agency echoed this sentiment, stating, “Federal programs such as these are set up to help those in need, not to benefit criminals.”

Amaleka McCall-Braithwaite, Special Agent in Charge of the Eastern Region of the SBA Office of Inspector General, affirmed the dedication to pursuing justice for the American taxpayer, thanking law enforcement partners for their commitment.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, with prosecution led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan C. Grover and Former Senior Litigation Counsel Jenna G. Solari.