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Report: IRS employees ripped off Covid relief program, went shopping with taxpayer money

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by WorldTribune Staff, November 2, 2022

The Small Business Administration (SBA) approved more than $400,000 in Covid relief loans to five current or former IRS employees who used the taxpayer funds to purchase spa services, cars, jewelry, and travel, a government watchdog group reported.

One former and four current IRS employees were charged with submitting fraudulent loan applications through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs in schemes seeking to obtain a combined $1.1 million in loans, OpenTheBooks.com reported on Oct. 24.

A combined $418,125 in loans were approved with individuals receiving between $27,550 and $171,400.

The individuals charged were: Brian Saulsberry, 46, of Memphis; Courtney Quinshe Westmoreland, 38 of Cordova, Tennessee; Fatina Hewitt, 35, of Olive Branch, Mississippi; Roderick DeMarco White II, 27, of Memphis; and Tina Humes, 56, of Memphis.

"It is especially egregious when individuals that hold positions of public trust engage in criminal activity," said Small Business Administration Inspector General Hannibal "Mike" Ware. "OIG is a ready partner in safeguarding the integrity of SBA's programs and in bringing wrongdoers to justice."

According to the Department of Justice:

• Saulsberry obtained $171,400 in loan funds and purchased a Mercedes-Benz.

• Hewitt received $28,900 in loans and purchased Gucci clothing and a trip to Las Vegas.

• White received more than $66,000 in illicit loan proceeds adn purchased personal items, including a Gucci bag.

• Humes obtained $123,612 in ill-gotten funds and splurged on jewelry and trips to Last Vegas.

• Westmoreland received more than $11,000 in fraudulent loans and treated herself to manicures, massages and luxury clothing.

Westmoreland also allegedly submitted fraudulent unemployment insurance benefit applications to the Tennessee Department of Labor while she was a full-time IRS employee, snagging another $16,050 in UI benefits.

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