Houston, Texas - A Texas woman was sentenced Thursday to 70 months in prison for her scheme to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of over $1.9 million in loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Lola Shalewa Barbara Kasali, 24, of Houston, submitted two fraudulent loan applications to two different lenders on behalf of her companies, Lola’s Level and Charm Hair Extensions. Through these loan applications, Kasali sought over $3.8 million in PPP loan funds. Kasali falsely represented the number of employees and payroll expenses in each of the PPP loan applications. To support these applications, Kasali also submitted fraudulent tax records. Kasali ultimately received over $1.9 million in PPP loan funds. The Justice Department, along with its law enforcement partners, seized the funds that Kasali fraudulently obtained.
A federal jury in Houston found Kasali guilty of two counts of bank fraud and two counts of making false statements to a financial institution on Dec. 8, 2021.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Jennifer Lowery for the Southern District of Texas; Special Agent in Charge Catherine Huber of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG) – Central Region; Special Agent in Charge Sharon Johnson of the SBA Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG) – Central Region; and Acting Inspector in Charge Dana Carter of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Houston Division made the announcement.
FHFA-OIG, SBA-OIG, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.
Assistant Chief Jonathan Robell of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Trial Attorney Matthew Grisier of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Section are prosecuting the case, with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim McAlister for the Southern District of Texas.