Woman used COVID loans to shop in California, feds say
A 32-year-old woman embarked on a luxury shopping spree with $1.1 million in fraudulently obtained COVID-19 relief loans, federal officials said.
Christina Burden, of Oakland, was sentenced to three years in prison for bank fraud and money laundering on February 24, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced in a press release.
Burden is accused of fraudulently applying for $4.6 million in Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Disaster Loan Program loans for four businesses that were fake, a criminal complaint alleges.
She ended up with $1.1 million from the bogus claims, according to the complaint.
A lawyer for Burden told McClatchy News she had no comment.
With the fraudulently obtained money, Burden spent $124,000 on luxury purchases at Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, the San Francisco Giants Dugout Store, Sunglass Hut, Tumi and Wayfair, according to the complaint.
She also spent $184,000 on airfare, private jet travel and hotels, as well as thousands of dollars on restaurants and boat and car rentals, a special agent said in the complaint.
In addition to luxury items and travel expenses, she transferred money to people who spent it on cars, including a Mercedes, a Land Rover and a Nissan, the agent said.
She was ordered to pay $1,143,191 in restitution and face three years of probation.