PHOENIX — Nine people in the Phoenix area have been indicted after being accused of stealing money from PPP funds totaling more than $23 million.
Agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) worked together to investigate financial fraud which resulted in the arrests of nine people.
In federal court, 40-year-old Jason Coleman and 38-year-old Kimberly Coleman of Mesa made their initial appearance on a 62-count indictment charging them with conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, and transactional money laundering, according to a release.
According to the indictments, from April 2020 through April 2021, the conspirators in this scheme submitted or assisted in submitting PPP loan applications on behalf of 18 businesses, seeking loans between $100,000 and $2.2 million for each company.
Documents state that in the loan applications, the defendants certified that each business was in operation and had employees for whom it paid salaries and payroll taxes, that the funds would be used to retain workers or make mortgage, lease, or utility payments, and that the information provided in the loan applications was true and accurate.
The indictment further states Jason and Kimberly Coleman, the married couple, conspired to prepare and submit approximately two dozen false and fraudulent PPP loan applications in an attempt to receive more than $30 million in PPP funds.
The Colemans were successful in ten of those submissions and fraudulently obtained more than $13 million in PPP funds.
According to the eight other connected indictments, seven defendants conspired to submit eight false and fraudulent PPP loan applications and received more than $10 million in PPP funds.
One of the defendants named is 52-year-old Toni Richardson of Phoenix. She is a former Phoenix Police Department officer who was arrested after allegedly fraudulently obtaining over $1 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan money.
The other individuals named in the indictments include:
- Willie Mitchell aka Blu Mitchell, 40, of Phoenix, Arizona
- Jason Nolte, 39, of Phoenix, Arizona
- Sean Swaringer, 56, of Peoria, Arizona
- Vanessa Swaringer, 54, of Peoria, Arizona
- Keenya Williams, 40, of Phoenix, Arizona
- Darrell Lieteau, 56, of Phoenix, Arizona
These cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from HSI, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Small Business Administration – Office of the Inspector General.