On March 17, 2022 a federal grand jury returned a criminal indictment charging Nkhenge Shropshire, 48, with wire fraud conspiracy in Charlotte, NC. Nkhenge is accused of submitting fraudulent loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to obtain COVID-19 relief loans.
Nkhenge is accused of conspiring with others to defraud the SBA by submitting fraudulent applications for Economic Disaster Relief Loans (EIDL), available under the expanded Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to business owners adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To obtain a loan under the EIDL program, business owners are required to submit certain information in support of the application, including information about the business’s gross revenues in the 12 months prior to COVID-19’s impact and the number of workers employed by the company, among other things.
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Prosecutors say that between July 2, and September 2, 2020, Nkhenge and co-conspirators submitted at least 10 fraudulent EIDL applications to the SBA. The applications and supporting documents were allegedly for fictitious businesses and contained false information regarding the total number of employees employed by each business and total gross revenues.
The indictment alleges that Nkhenge and her co-conspirators attempted to obtain at least $331,072 in relief funds. The SBA accepted and paid out at least $45,000 to Nkhenge and her co-conspirators as a result of the scheme.
Prosecutors say Nkhenge spent the fraudulent proceeds on personal expenses, including hotel stays, shopping sprees, and cars. Court records show that in 2014 Nkhenge was convicted of filing false tax returns and lying on a loan application.
She was sentenced to 33 months in prison and five years of supervised release for the 2014 conviction.
Nkhenge was on federal supervised release during the alleged COVID-19 loan fraud scheme.