DeSoto County residents arrested for payroll protection fraud

Published 3:32 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Three DeSoto County residents were arrested today, Feb. 13, on criminal charges related to their involvement in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain government funds intended to protect employees of endangered businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic through the Payroll Protection Program of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

According to court documents, Zipora Hudson, Montreal Hudson and Deandre Jones, all of Olive Branch, are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud for their involvement in the fraudulently application of PPP loans. The defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering by participating in wire transfers involving proceeds of the fraud scheme.

If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 30 years for the conspiracy and wire fraud violations and 20 years for the money laundering charges. A federal district court judge would determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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The alleged scheme in the instant case was initially uncovered during the course of a civil investigation. The federal investigative agencies that assisted with this investigation emphasized their ongoing commitment to hold accountable those citizens who seek to fraudulently and unfairly profit from federal pandemic relief programs.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi is prosecuting the case. The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.