Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse in downtown St. Louis
Today in federal court in St. Louis a Florissant woman was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to repay more than $780,000 in ill-gotten COVID-relief funds.
Dionneshae Forland, 51, pleaded guilty in July to charges of wire fraud, bank fraud and theft of government property.
As part of the scheme, Forland fraudulently obtained a $150,000 loan for a company that was linked to her 31-year-old son, Dwayne Times.
Forland also fraudulently obtained two more loans worth $36,600 on behalf of people referred to her by her son.
Times pleaded guilty to wire fraud and theft of government property in June and yesterday was given five years probation in addition to being ordered to pay back $195,000.
A filing by prosecutors acknowledged that Times played a "lesser role" in the scheme than his mother.
Court documents state that Forland lied on a number of applications for COVID relief funds that she filled out on behalf of numerous companies she owned. She claimed that her company All About Family I had 20 employees when, according to an indictment, the company employed no one. Forland also claimed that the company had a monthly payroll of a little more than $58,000.
Forland also made false claims about Missouri Home Therapy, A Great Place To Stay and Missouri Home Health — companies that Forland claimed in relief applications had employees and payroll obligations that did not exist.
The relief programs were intended to be utilized by small businesses whose employees were at risk of losing their jobs. However, Forland used the money for personal expenses, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Clow said in court.
After being indicted, Forland and Times had more than $600,000 seized from bank accounts associated with them.
Forland wrote in a letter to the court that "life has thrown me many hardships and I am very remorseful of my choices ... it's always been my mission to keep my family together and now I am the reason its at risk of being torn apart."
When Forland is released from prison, she will be on supervised release for five years.
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