Arkansas woman charged in nearly $2 million COVID-19 relief fraud

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An Arkansas woman is accused of siphoning almost $2 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), money she allegedly used to fund a lavish shopping spree and pay off a student loan.

Ganell Tubbs, 41, of Little Rock, applied for COVID-19 relief funds through the PPP on behalf of two businesses, The Little Piglet Soap Company, LLC, and Suga Girl Customs, LLC. Neither business is in good standing, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State, and both have Tubbs’ personal phone number and address as the registered contact information.

A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office states Tubbs claimed Suga Girl Customs paid $1,385,903 in wages and compensation during the first quarter of 2020. She submitted the PPP application on April 30 and was approved for a loan of $1,518,887.

Tubbs received the money on May 5 and, two days later, spent $8,000 to pay off a student loan, according to the indictment. One week later, prosecutors say she went shopping online, spending roughly $6,000 on products from Apple, Michael Kors, Sephora, Northface, Nike, and others.

Tubbs’ second PPP application for The Little Piglet Soap Company on May 5 netted her a loan of $414,375, according to the news release.

“Numerous businesses across Arkansas are struggling to remain open during this COVID-19 pandemic, so our office has zero tolerance for anyone who fraudulently misuses federal funds intended to help companies weather this tough time,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch. “Alongside our federal and state partners, we will remain vigilant against fraudsters and ensure that PPP funds are used as intended.”

Tubbs faces two counts of bank fraud, two counts of making a false statement on a loan application and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction with proceeds of unlawful activity.

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