Missouri woman admits attempting $1.6 million pandemic loan fraud


Date: April 10, 2024

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

ST. LOUIS — A woman from O’Fallon, Missouri on Wednesday admitted submitting a series of fraudulent applications seeking pandemic loans totaling more than $1.6 million.

Dearika L. Binion of O’Fallon, Missouri, was successful in obtaining two loans totaling $75,600.

Binion pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in St. Louis Wednesday to three counts of bank fraud.

As part of her guilty plea, Binion admitted submitting a false and fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application to the Small Business Administration (SBA) on April 10, 2020, on behalf of Domi More, a company she registered in 2014. The application falsely inflated the number of employees, the gross revenues and costs of goods sold for the company. As a result of the fraudulent application, the SBA approved the loan and transferred $22,000 to Binion’s credit union account. She withdrew $6,000 in cash from that account on June 17, 2020, the same day it arrived, and another $13,000 the next day.

On July 8, 2020, Binion submitted another fraudulent EIDL application, this time on behalf of MTRLSTC LLC. She again lied about employees, gross revenues and cost of goods sold and falsely certified that she had neither submitted nor received any compensation for disaster losses. The company received a $53,600 loan on Aug. 3, 2020. Binion spent $45,244 on retail purchases and payments for prior retail purchases. Another $5,181 was used to pay a Chase credit card bill and $2,235 was transferred to others via Cash App.

On July 20, 2020, Binion submitted a fraudulent EIDL loan application seeking $59,500 for Bella Skin Spa LLC, but that loan was not approved.

On Sept. 23, 2020, Binion submitted another fraudulent application seeking $264,800 for Bella Skin Spa. This time she listed the company as a sole proprietorship and altered other information in the application but was still not successful in obtaining a loan.

She tried a third time after filing a registration of fictitious name with the Missouri Secretary of State for Bella Skin Spa on Jan. 21, 2021. On Feb. 4, 2021, she submitted a fraudulent EIDL loan application seeking $1.2 million. The SBA did not approve this application.

There are no employment records on file with Missouri’s Department of Labor indicating that Domi More, MTRLSTC, or Bella Skin Spa had any employees during 2020.

Binion is scheduled to be sentenced July 10. Each bank fraud charge is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine or both prison and a fine.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (CI), the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the St. Louis County Police Department.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, violent street gangs, and transnational criminal organizations. The St. Louis Gateway OCDETF Strike Force is comprised of agents and officers from IRS CI, FBI, DEA, ATF, HSI, USSS, USPIS, USMS, St. Louis County Police Department, St. Charles County Police Department and St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the prosecution is being led by the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.

CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a more than a 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.