Former Atlanta City Attorney Sentenced to Prison for $15M PPP Fraud Scheme

Former Atlanta City Attorney Sentenced to Prison for $15M PPP Fraud Scheme
Shelitha Robertson

Shelitha Robertson, a former Assistant City Attorney and police officer for the City of Atlanta, has been sentenced to seven years and three months in prison for fraudulently obtaining approximately $15 million in loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP is a federal stimulus program designed to provide emergency financial relief to struggling small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Motivated by greed, Robertson deceptively obtained funds that were designated to provide emergency financial relief to struggling small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute criminals who stole pandemic relief funds.”

“Today the defendant in this case was held accountable for fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars through the Paycheck Protection Program and using those stolen funds to enrich herself, while small businesses were struggling during the pandemic,” said Kyle A. Myles, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, Atlanta Region. “The FDIC OIG remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to pursue and bring to justice those who took advantage of such pandemic relief programs and threatened the integrity of our Nation’s financial institutions.”

“Scheming to divert vital funds from legitimate businesses that needed support during the pandemic undermines the integrity of SBA’s programs,” said SBA OIG’s Eastern Region Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Braithwaite. “Our office remains steadfast in pursuing those who exploit federal programs for personal gain. I would like to thank the US. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their unwavering commitment to the pursuing justice in this case.”

“The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration will aggressively pursue individuals who commit fraud against the American taxpayer by making false claims to obtain Paycheck Protection Program loans intended for legitimate businesses who needed it to survive the pandemic,” stated Special Agent in Charge Mark H Morini, Jr. “We want to express our gratitude to our federal partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their assistance in holding these individuals to account.”

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the court documents and evidence presented at trial: Shelitha Robertson and other co-conspirators submitted PPP loan applications on behalf of four businesses that she owned and controlled. The loan applications falsely inflated the number of employees and average monthly payroll for each of the four businesses, resulting in larger PPP loans than Robertson would be legitimately entitled to obtain. Robertson and her co-conspirator, Chandra Norton, also submitted false tax documents to support the inflated statements in each loan application. Robertson used the loan proceeds to purchase luxury items, including a 10-carat diamond ring. She also transferred funds to Chandra Norton and family members.

Shelitha Robertson, 62, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steven D. Grimberg to seven years, three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. A jury convicted Robertson of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering on December 19, 2023.

This case was investigated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG), and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

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