East Texas pleads guilty to $5 million COVID relief fraud


TEXARKANA, Texas (KSLA) – A man is facing 20 years in prison following a scheme to obtain millions in COVID relief funds.

Samuel Yates, 32, of Maud, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud on the morning of Friday May 6.

In April 2020, Yates submitted two fraudulent applications to two different lenders seeking over $5 million in forgivable loans. In the first PPP loan, he claimed to have over 400 employees with an average monthly payroll of over $2 million. In the second application, he claimed to employ over 100 people and was able to secure a loan of over $500,000.

According to a press release, he submitted a list of names created by a web-based random name generator along with fake tax documents.

These taxpayer-funded government loans were designed to help businesses weather the pandemic-related economic storm. Yates chose to fraudulently take advantage of the goodwill of the American people by attempting to steal funding from the CARES Act. Those who seek to embezzle these vital funds must exercise caution as they will be identified, investigated and prosecuted…period.

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