PHOENIX — The ABC15 Investigators found links between the federal bank fraud case against a former Phoenix cop and four other Paycheck Protection Program loan fraud cases filed the same day.
Toni Richardson resigned from the Phoenix Police Department this month after her arrest on conspiracy, bank fraud, and money laundering charges. She's accused of creating fraudulent documents and lying about the number of employees at a business called The Lotto Club.
According to the federal indictment, Richardson had no employees and no payroll for the company when she applied and received more than $1.2 million in federal loan money in February.
The indictment claims Richardson then deposited some of the money into a separate bank account that she controlled.
Richardson's co-defendant, Willie "Blu" Mitchell, faces similar charges for The Lotto Club and three other businesses: Sigma Cuts School of Beauty, Sigma Cuts Medical Training Academy, and U.C.C.A.N.!
One of Mitchell's co-defendants in the two Sigma Cuts cases is Sean Swaringer. Swaringer and his wife, Vanessa, are also indicted in a PPP loan case for a company called Cryotherapy for Veterans.
Between the five PPP loan fraud cases filed in Arizona on November 23, there are six defendants accused of defrauding banks of a combined $7.4 million in PPP loans.
Money for the program was intended to help small businesses remain open and retain employees through the COVID-19 pandemic.
ABC15 tried to reach the defendants in these cases at several business addresses, homes, and phone numbers Friday. We were unable to reach them for comment.
It is still unclear if all six defendants personally knew each other or whether their cases are more loosely connected through common defendants.