Temple Terrace Woman Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud Involving COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program Loans | USAO-MDFL

Tampa, Florida – US Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Bridgitte Keim (52, Temple Terrace) has pleaded guilty to bank fraud. Keim faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to court agreement, between April and May 2021, Keim executed a scheme to defraud a financial institution insured by the Federal Government (“Bank 1”) and the US Small Business Administration (“SBA”) by submitting false and fraudulent loan applications and supporting documents for payment protection guaranteed by the federal government. Program loans (“PPP”) designed to help businesses suffering from the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of his bank fraud scheme, Keim recruited family members to provide their personal information in exchange for free “COVID money”. Keim prepared and submitted bogus and fraudulent PPP loan applications to Bank 1 on behalf of his relatives on behalf of fictitious businesses, knowing that his relatives had no existing business, had no employees, had no business income and no payroll charges as required by the SBA to qualify for PPP loans. To further deceive Bank 1, Keim created email addresses on behalf of his relatives and communicated with bank employees by impersonating his relatives to convince loan officers that they were communicating with borrowers. potentials. Additionally, Keim sent text messages containing fictitious business names, fake financial information, and email addresses she created to loved ones so they could answer loan officers’ questions about loan applications.

More specifically, on March 21, 2021, Keim submitted to Bank 1 a request for a PPP loan on behalf of a relative she had recruited. The application contained a fictitious business name, fictitious number of employees, falsified business income, and fraudulently claimed that the PPP loan funds would be used for payroll. Based on these false claims, Bank 1 approved and financed a PPP loan of $ 20,833 on behalf of Keim’s relative. Keim then embezzled $ 7,500 of the loan proceeds from his personal bank account.

The expected losses associated with Keim’s bank fraud scheme are at least $ 588,693.14.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of the Inspector General, the US Small Business Administration – Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He is being pursued by Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor.