Mercedes-Benz, Gucci and trips to Vegas: 5 Mid-South IRS employees accused of stealing COVID relief money
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Five former or current Mid-South IRS employees are charged with fraud in relation to COVID-19 relief programs.
The programs that were allegedly defrauded include the Paycheck Protection program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
That money was then spent on cars, luxury goods and trips to Las Vegas, according to court documents.
The five people charged include:
- Brian Saulsberry, 46, of Memphis
Saulsberry is charged with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. Saulsberry is accused of fraudulently acquiring $171,400 in loans. He allegedly spent the money on a Mercedes-Benz and deposited other money into a personal investment account. Saulsberry was an IRS employee as a Program Evaluation and Risk Analyst in the Human Capital Office.
- Courtney Quinshe Westmoreland, 38, of Cordova
Westmoreland is charged with three counts of wire fraud. She’s accused of submitting multiple fraudulent loan applications which netter her $16,050 in unemployment insurance benefits and another $11,500 in loan funds. She allegedly used this money to purchase luxury clothing. Westmoreland was employed by the IRS as a Contact Representative in the Wage and Investment Service Centers Department.
- Fatina Hewitt, 35, of Olive Branch
Hewitt is charged with one count of wire fraud. She’s accused of fraudulently obtaining $28,900 in loan funds on behalf of a purported fashion business. Hewitt allegedly spent the money on Gucci clothing and a trip to Las Vegas. Hewitt was employed by the IRS as a Management and Program Assistant in Information Technology. Hewitt pleaded guilty to the charge Tuesday.
- Roderick DeMarco White II, 27, of Memphis
White is charged with one count of wire fraud. He’s accused of submitted four fraudulent loan applications which netted him $66,666 in loan funds. He allegedly spent the money on personal items including a Gucci satchel. He was employed by the IRS as a Contact Representative in the Wage and Investment Service Centers Department. He pleaded guilty to the charge on August 25.
- Tina Humes, 56, of Memphis
Humes is charged with one count of wire fraud. She is accused of submitting four fraudulent loan applications with netted her $123,612 in loan funds. She allegedly spent the money on jewelry and trips to Las Vegas. She was employed by the IRS as a Lead Management and Program Assistant in the Human Capital Office. Humes pleaded guilty to the charge on July 27.
Each count of wire fraud comes with a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and money laundering carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.
“The IRS employees charged in these cases allegedly abused the trust placed in them by the public,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Criminal Division is committed to safeguarding that public trust and protecting pandemic relief programs for the American people.”
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