Lehigh Acres woman sentenced for PPP fraud of nearly $400,000

Published: August 18, 2022 2:28 PM EDT
Updated: August 20, 2022 6:37 PM EDT
Credit: via WINK News.

A Lehigh Acres woman was sentenced for Payroll Protection Program fraud of nearly $400,000.

Edrica Leann Watson, 40, was sentenced to 15 months in Federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release for making false statements to a financial institution.

As part of her sentence, the court also entered an order of forfeiture in the amount of $392,563, the proceeds of the offense of conviction. Watson was also ordered to pay $434,227.50 in restitution to the two financial institutions that she had defrauded.

According to court documents and information presented during her sentencing hearing, Watson was the owner and purported operator of Unity Home Care Services, LLC (UHC), an entity for which she made materially false representations on loan applications under the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) to financial institutions.

While UHC was formed by Watson in September 2020, it was not an operating business prior to or at the time of her application in April 2021.

Watson initially obtained two loans, each in the amount of $20,832, and then submitted an additional loan application in the amount of $392,563 on behalf of UHC, for a total of $434,227.50 in PPP loans.

UHC’s number of employees, wages, and income were misrepresented on the loan application in order to receive the loan amount requested.

Fraudulent tax documents and an income statement were also submitted to the financial institution with the loan application to further support the loan amount of $392,563.

Watson pleaded guilty on March 22, 2022.

A mugshot for Watson is unavailable due to the case being federal.