Woman admits to stealing $291,000 in pandemic loan fraud

File photo of money
File photo of money(MGN)
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 2:56 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A woman pleaded guilty to a felony bank fraud charge Friday.

Porshia Thomas, 31, admitted that between April and September 2020, she attempted to fraudulently obtain a PPP loan, according to officials. The statement showed that she registered a company called Couture Trading Inc. in Montana on April 7, 2020.

Reports say she applied for a PPP loan by making a series of false claims on July 15, 2020. She claimed the company was located in Beverly Hills, Calif., had been in operation for at least five months, had 15 employees, had an average monthly payroll of $120,000, and claimed the loan would be used for expenses under the program.

Thomas also submitted IRS forms listing false information about employees, wages, false Wells Fargo bank statements, and a fake letter from a Wells Fargo branch manager verifying Couture Trading had an account. Officials said Couture Trading received $291,600 on Sept. 21.

Thomas used some of the loan for a 2018 Audi S5, paid someone whose name was listed in the company documentation $75,000, and used the rest for shopping at Neiman Marcus, Ulta Beauty, Bath and Body Works, and Victoria’s Secret.

Her sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 21, and she will be ordered to repay the money that has not been recovered.