Ex-prison guard gets probation for COVID relief fraud

Published 8:30 pm Saturday, February 18, 2023

A former prison guard at a federal facility in Mississippi has been sentenced to three years of probation for devising a scheme to cash in on COVID-relief loans, federal prosecutors said.

Tarshauna Thomas, 34, of Flora, Mississippi, fraudulently applied for two loans under the COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program, U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca’s office said in a news release Friday. Thomas, who worked as a correctional officer at the Federal Correctional Complex in Yazoo City, claimed to be the sole proprietor of a dog breeding and sitting service when she applied for the money.

As a result, she received $12,586 which she spent on personal, non-business-related expenses, authorities said.

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In addition to probation, LaMarca’s office said Thomas was ordered to pay $15,086 in restitution for her role in the fraud.

PPP loans were created to provide financial support to struggling businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.