Spokane Man Sentenced to Probation for COVID-19 Relief Fraud

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United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of Washington

Spokane, Washington – Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Roshon Edward Thomas, age 42, of Spokane, was sentenced to a 5-year term of probation in federal court for fraudulently obtaining COVID-19 relief funding for small businesses. Senior United States District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson announced the sentence, the first sentencing in a case brought by the Eastern Washington COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force created by U.S. Attorney Waldref earlier this year.

On March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The CARES Act provided a number of programs through which eligible small businesses could request and obtain relief funding intended to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic for small and local businesses. One such program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, provided low interest loans that could be deferred until the conclusion of the pandemic to provide “bridge” funding for small businesses to maintain their operations during shutdowns and other economic circumstances caused by the pandemic.

“COVID-19 relief programs were designed to lift up our community during crisis, and due to the number of people and businesses that requested funding, some deserving small businesses were not able to obtain funding to keep their businesses in operation,” said U.S. Attorney Waldref. “We created the Eastern Washington COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force because combatting pandemic-related fraud and holding those accountable who abused these programs is critical to protecting our small and local businesses, and the critical jobs and services that they provide for the community.”