Foreign national sentenced for using stolen identity during COVID-19 relief prosecution


Date: April 28, 2023


A foreign national was sentenced today to an additional year and nine months in prison for using a stolen identity during her earlier prosecution for her role in the submission of fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $9.2 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

According to court documents, Tanika Candy Hospedales of Trinidad and Tobago, applied for and received a PPP loan in May 2020 on behalf of her company using the name and personal identifying information of another person, Keyaira Bostic, without authorization. Hospedales sought a fraudulent PPP loan of $84,515 on behalf of her company, I Am Liquid Inc., and referred other conspirators to the scheme who sought $3,345,895 in fraudulent loans, for a total intended loss of $3,430,410.

During an investigation into her involvement in PPP loans, Hospedales falsely identified herself to law enforcement as Keyaira Bostic. Hospedales was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud in connection with fraudulent PPP loans, and the charging documents identified her as Keyaira Bostic. On Nov. 21, 2021, during her trial before a jury on the PPP fraud charges, Hospedales falsely testified that her name was Keyaira Bostic. The jury convicted Hospedales.

During these proceedings, Hospedales provided false information to the probation office regarding her identity and surrendered a U.S. passport in the name of Keyaira Bostic that she had fraudulently obtained in 2012. On Feb. 3, 2022, the court sentenced Hospedales on her trial conviction for PPP fraud to three years and eight months in prison, three years of supervised release, and entered a written judgment against Hospedales in the name of "Keyaira Bostic." A subsequent investigation confirmed that Hospedales was not, in fact, Keyaira Bostic. Law enforcement obtained visa records that demonstrate that in March 2003, Hospedales entered the United States from Trinidad and Tobago on a temporary visa under her true name.

Hospedales pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for using a false identity during her earlier prosecution. Her term of imprisonment, which will be served consecutively to her earlier sentence for PPP fraud, is followed by three years of supervised release.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Miami Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI Miami Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Philippe Furstenberg of the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Miami Field Office made the announcement.

The IRS-CI, FBI, and DSS investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Philip Trout of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Turken for the Southern District of Florida prosecuted the case.