COLUMBUS, Ohio – A Columbus woman pleaded guilty in federal court here today to crimes related to COVID relief fraud.
Janet Jenison, 38, pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement on a Paycheck Protection Program loan application. Jenison was charged by bill of information on May 20, 2021.
According to court documents, Jenison submitted three fraudulent applications to obtain Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, created by the CARES Act, for Janet Minton Marketing, LLC, a business registered in her maiden name. The applications collectively sought $298,719.67 in fraudulent loans.
Two of the applications were approved and a financial institution disbursed $160,247. Jenison first received $98,120 in June 2020. She filed the second successful application on Feb. 18, 2021, and received $62,127.
To date, the United States has seized and recovered $58,276.56 of the fraudulent proceeds.
In support of the three applications, Jenison created false Fifth Third Bank account statements for her business for the period Feb. 8, 2020 to March 6, 2020. The bank statements showed debits for payroll, tax withholding and business expenses. The business account at Fifth Third Bank was not opened until April 27, 2020.
Jenison also submitted false tax documents. One document claimed she elected for her marketing business to be classified as a corporation and was dated Jan. 24, 2020, but the employer identification number on the form was not created until four months later. In support of her loan applications, the defendant also submitted fabricated tax documents claiming that she had made federal employment tax deposits on behalf of employees of her business, when in fact she had not done so.
Jenison was interviewed by law enforcement in March 2021 and admitted to creating the false documents submitted in support of the applications.
Wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Making a false statement is punishable by up to five years in prison. Each crime carries a potential fine not to exceed $250,000. Congress sets the maximum statutory sentence. Sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the Court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.