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$6.8M Covid-19 Fraud Lands Paradise Williams 5 Years in Prison

$6.8M Covid-19 Fraud Lands Paradise Williams 5 Years in Prison

A Seattle woman, Paradise Williams, has been sentenced to five years in prison for defrauding the government of millions of dollars in pandemic relief funds. Paradise Williams, 29, orchestrated a scheme that stole over $6.8 million from programs intended to help struggling individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

Prosecutors revealed that Williams used the stolen funds to finance a lavish lifestyle, indulging in luxury cars, expensive vacations, cosmetic surgery, and designer goods. 

U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman condemned Williams’ actions, highlighting the stolen money’s intended purpose: assisting King County residents facing eviction. Gorman emphasized the ongoing effort to hold accountable those who exploit national emergencies for personal gain.

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How Paradise Williams Orchestrated the Fraud

From 2020 to 2022, Williams orchestrated a complex fraud involving over 125 applications. These applications targeted various programs, including Emergency Rental Assistance, Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and CARES Act unemployment benefits. With the help of five co-conspirators, Williams submitted applications posing as fake tenants, landlords, and business owners impacted by the pandemic. Fabricated documents like bank statements and rental agreements further enabled the scheme.

Through the fraud, Williams secured over $2 million for herself. However, the court ordered her to repay a significant portion of the stolen funds.  She faces restitution exceeding $3 million to the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration. Additionally, a Lexus and a Range Rover purchased with the illegal money will be forfeited.

Williams’ co-conspirators have also faced consequences. D’Arius Jackson received a three-year prison sentence, while Tia Robinson received 18 months. The remaining co-defendants, Rayvon Peterson and David Martinez, will be sentenced in the coming weeks.

This case serves as a stark reminder of the seriousness of defrauding pandemic relief programs. The stolen funds were intended to provide vital support during a difficult time, and those who exploit these programs will be held accountable.


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