Central Florida woman pleads guilty to COVID-19 relief fraud

OCALA, Fla. — An Ocala woman is headed to federal prison after pleading guilty to fraudulently obtaining more than $20,000 in COVID-19 relief funds.


According to court records, in April of 2021, 30-year-old Passion Jackson submitted an application to the Small Business Administration for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program.

The Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief ad Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted in March of 2020 to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans who were suffering the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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One form of relief included potentially forgivable PPP loans to small businesses meant to help with job retention and other expenses.

Investigators say Jackson submitted a loan application with false information on it, and on April 6, 2021, received an electronic wire transfer of $20,132 to her bank account. She’s also accused of providing a fake IRS document in support of the application.

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According to the Justice Department, Jackson withdrew the funds in cash within 30 days of the deposit.

She was indicted in July on one count of wire fraud related to the CARES Act.

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On Tuesday, United States Attorney Roger Handberg announced Jackson had entered a plea of guilty.

Jackson faces up to 20 years in federal prison and an order of forfeiture for the fraudulently-obtained funds.

A sentencing date has not been set.

Jackson has a long history of arrests in Marion County dating back to 2011.

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