PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A Portland woman pleaded guilty to wire fraud on Tuesday after stealing Coronavirus relief funds meant for businesses.
According to court documents, 40-year-old Kimberly Aralene Wells, who worked as a housekeeper, applied for Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster loans under a fake company called Kim’s Cleaning Inc.
Authorities said in the loan applications she claimed her business grossed more than $600,000 annually with a monthly average payroll of $19,000. However, authorities said the company only existed in name and had no employees.
In February 2021, Wells received almost $49,000 in PPP loans which she used to travel and gamble.
Officials said between July 2020 and May 2021, she fraudulently applied three times for EIDL loans but they were denied by the Small Business Administration.
On November 11, 2021 a federal grand jury in Portland returned a three-count indictement charging her with wire fraud.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Oregon, she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison along with three year’s supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
Wells’ sentencing is scheduled for August 8, 2022.
Officials said as part of her plea agreement, she agreed to pay $51,457 in restitution.