18 June 2024

A 30-year-old woman from Ocala, Passion Lajodia Jackson, has been charged with wire fraud in connection with a fraudulent COVID-19 relief loan. The indictment was announced by United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg and is related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

According to the indictment, between April 2, 2021, and April 6, 2021, Jackson allegedly devised a scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration by applying for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan under the CARES Act. During the application process, she provided false information and documentation to obtain the loan.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida is seeking an order of forfeiture for at least $20,132, which represents the alleged unlawful proceeds of the offense.

Jackson’s trial is scheduled to begin in October 2023, and if found guilty, she could face up to 20 years in federal prison. However, it’s essential to remember that an indictment is only an accusation of a federal criminal offense, and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The case is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Hannah Nowalk.

To address pandemic-related fraud, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force in May 2021. The task force aims to combine the resources of the Department of Justice with other government agencies to combat and prevent such fraudulent activities.