Los Angeles woman pleads guilty to 2.2 million dollar COVID loan scheme and to falsely seeking 1.3 million dollars in pandemic tax credits


Date: April 11, 2024

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

A woman from the Mid-City area of Los Angeles pleaded guilty today to fraudulently obtaining more than $2 million in COVID-19 government loans and to submitting false claims in an unsuccessful effort to secure from the IRS nearly $1.3 million in pandemic-related tax credits.

Casie Hynes pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of false claims.

According to her plea agreement, from June 2020 to December 2021, Hynes submitted more than 80 fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) from banks and the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) in the names of approximately 20 companies. Congress designed these programs to provide government relief to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hynes submitted the bogus applications in the names of both existing and newly created companies, including Nasty Womxn Project and She Suite Collective and others purportedly owned by Hynes or her friends and family members. On those applications, Hynes often used the personal information and signatures of other people without their authorization and even though those people were not involved with the companies. Hynes also provided false information on the applications, including as to the number of purported employees at the companies, the companies’ average monthly payroll, and who purportedly owned and controlled these sham businesses. Hynes also submitted fabricated tax documents and bank statements in support of the fraudulent PPP and EIDL applications.

In reliance on Hynes’ fraudulent loan applications, banks and the SBA approved PPP and EIDL loans for the various companies she created and then disbursed the COVID-relief funds into bank accounts she controlled and used to pay her own personal expenses.

Hynes admitted in her plea agreement that she intended to cause approximately $3,174,323 in losses and she received approximately $2,255,244 in fraudulent proceeds from this scheme.

In a related scheme, Hynes used some of the same companies named in her PPP and EIDL fraud to submit bogus tax forms to the IRS, requesting refunds. Following COVID-19’s outbreak, Congress enacted laws authorizing the IRS to reduce the employment tax burdens of small businesses and reimburse those businesses for wages paid to employees who were on sick or family leave and could not work because of the pandemic. During the tax years 2020 and 2021, the IRS offered the Employee Retention Credit and paid sick and family leave credit to businesses that were significantly impacted by COVID-19.

From May 2021 to April 2022, Hynes caused to be submitted 12 tax forms that sought refunds based on false statements on behalf of Nasty Womxn Project LLC, She Suite Ventures, and Casie Hynes Consulting. Hynes knew these companies had little to no business operations, did not have the number of employees she claimed, and did not pay the quarterly wages she claimed in the tax forms.

Hynes fraudulently sought approximately $1,255,703 in COVID-19 tax credits and tax refunds through these false claims, none of which the IRS paid.

United States District Judge Hernán D. Vera scheduled a Jan. 30, 2025, sentencing hearing, at which time Hynes will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the wire fraud count and up to five years in federal prison for the false claims count.

IRS Criminal Investigation investigated this matter.

Assistant United States Attorney Kristen A. Williams of the Major Frauds Section is prosecuting this case.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF web complaint form.