Mount Vernon’s mother and daughter face federal charges in Covid scam

WHITE PLAINS, NY – Three defendants, including a mother and daughter from Mount Vernon, have been charged in connection with a $ 1.6 million Covid-19 fraud scheme. Alicia Ayers, Andrea Ayers and Traci Proctor have been arrested for submitting more than 300 US Small Business Administration (SBA) economic disaster loan applications. The three women were arrested on Tuesday.

“As alleged, the defendants conspired to defraud the SBA by submitting disaster loan and grant applications for non-existent companies,” US lawyer Audrey Strauss said in a statement announcing the arrests. “In doing so, they stole funds intended for the many small businesses struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank the FBI and SBA-OIG for their partnership in investigating the alleged scheme.”

The three defendants were each charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, misrepresentation and aggravated identity theft in indictments unsealed today. Alicia Ayers, 34, and her mother, Andrea Ayers, 54, will be prosecuted by the Southern District Attorney’s Office of New York’s White Plains Division.

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Prosecutors said the scam was particularly distressing as the SBA was quick to advance up to $ 10,000 in pandemic-related funds to businesses while claims were pending. While the policy has been a boon to many struggling small businesses, it has also made the program a much easier brand for potential scammers.

Defendants in this case are accused of forging identities in order to fraudulently receive advances on coronavirus relief loans. By the time SBA officials took a closer look and finally rejected the loans, the damage was, in many cases, already done.

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