A woman was arrested July 16 based on allegations she fraudulently obtained nearly $2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans intended to provide relief for small businesses affected by COVID-19.
Ganell Tubbs, 41, of Little Rock, was charged with 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, according to a July 16 news release from Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Little Rock Field Office.
Tubbs was indicted by a grand jury on July 7 alleging that she purported to own two businesses, The Little Piglet Soap Company, LLC, and Suga Girl Customs, LLC. According to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office, neither business is in good standing, and both businesses list Tubbs’ residence and personal phone number as the business contact information, Hiland and Upchurch reported in their news release.
According to the indictment, Tubbs, on April 30, submitted a PPP application claiming that Suga Girl Customs had paid $1,385,903 in wages and compensation during the first quarter of 2020. She was approved for a PPP loan of $1,518,887 and received the funds on May 5.
Two days later, Tubbs is alleged to have used the proceeds to make an $8,000 payment on her personal student loan. The following week, she spent approximately $6,000 in online purchases at retailers including Apple, Michael Kors, Sephora, Northface, Nike, and others, according to the news release.
Tubbs submitted another PPP application, this time regarding The Little Piglet Soap Company. Based on the representations she made in the loan application, which the indictment alleges are not true, The Little Piglet Soap Company received a PPP loan for $414,375, according to the news release.
“These loans are meant to help small business owners who have suffered economically due to COVID-19 shutdowns,” Hiland said in the news release. “Hardworking Arkansans are at their best when they are free to keep their businesses open during this challenging time, and we will be diligent in investigating and prosecuting those who take advantage of these critical funds.”
Tubbs appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Thomas Ray and was released on bond. The FBI, the Small Business Administration – Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Pat Harris and Jamie Dempsey are prosecuting the case.
An indictment only contains allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.