Atlanta, Georgia – On Tuesday, three individuals were given prison sentences for illegally getting and misusing funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a financial aid initiative by the U.S. Small Business Administration meant to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was part of the CARES Act.
Khadijah X. Chapman from Atlanta, 59 years old, received a sentence of three years and 10 months. Daniel C. Labrum, 42, from South Jordan, Utah, got two years, while Eric J. O’Neil, 58, from Bethel, Connecticut, was sentenced to two years and three months.
Evidence and court records show that in 2020 and 2021, Chapman, Labrum, and O’Neil got PPP loans by pretending to have businesses that didn’t exist. They, along with others, made up information and gave fake documents to banks in Boise and other places to get around $3.5 million meant to help small businesses facing financial problems because of the pandemic.
Chapman was convicted in November 2023 of bank fraud. Labrum and O’Neil pleaded guilty in 2023 to bank fraud.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit for the District of Idaho, Special Agent in Charge Thomas M. Fattorusso of IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS:CI) New York, Assistant Director Michael D. Nordwall of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, Special Agent in Charge Matthew Miraglia of the FBI Buffalo Field Office, Inspector General Gail S. Ennis of the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (SSA-OIG), Special Agent in Charge Sharon B. MacDermott of SSA-OIG, and Inspector in Charge Ketty Larco-Ward of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Boston Division made the announcement.
IRS:CI, the FBI, SSA-OIG, and USPIS investigated the cases.
Trial Attorneys Jennifer Bilinkas and Tamara Livshiz of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Mazorol for the District of Idaho prosecuted the cases.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General started the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force. This team brings together the Justice Department’s efforts with other government agencies to fight and stop fraud related to the pandemic.
The task force strengthens the work to find and charge the biggest criminals, both from within the country and abroad, involved in pandemic fraud. It helps the organizations that give out relief funds to avoid fraud by improving coordination, finding ways to spot fraudsters and their tricks, and using lessons learned from previous enforcement actions to get better at stopping fraud.
For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Justice Department’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866‑720‑5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.