Fresno woman charged with fraud over $ 220,000 SBA loans
published on May 28, 2021 – 10:43 AM
Written by Business Journal staff
A Fresno woman is indicted for fraud by the Justice Department over hundreds of thousands of dollars in SBA loans filed in 2020.
Cecilia Aquino, 34, faces six counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California, she submitted claims for unemployment insurance claims for the Small Business Administration’s personal injury and economic disaster loans.
Court documents show that from June to November 2020, Aquino submitted claims for unemployment benefits in at least seven states. At least four loan applications contained false statements.
Lawyers say the people Aquino last filed for worked as dancers and owned interior design companies, and because of the pandemic, they lost their jobs and business income.
Aquino is said to have spent money on gambling, rent, shopping, and other personal expenses. The SBA and the United States suffered an actual loss of at least $ 220,000 and suffered a potential loss of over $ 350,000 as a result of the fraud committed.
The FBI, the SBA Inspector General’s Office and the Labor Department’s Inspector General’s Office took part in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Barton is pursuing the case.
If convicted, Aquino faces a maximum legal sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $ 250,000 for each count of mail and wire transfer fraud. Aquino also faces a two-year consecutive sentence on other counts and a fine of up to $ 250,000 for each total count of identity theft.