Midlands woman sentenced to prison for misusing more than $1 million in COVID-19 funds

FILE PHOTO of prison bars
FILE PHOTO of prison bars(Storyblocks)
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 9:46 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 10:03 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A Midlands woman has been sentenced to two years in prison for fraud relating to $1.2 million in coronavirus relief funds.

Bridgett Dorsey, 39, of Blythewood, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to fraud related to Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and to committing tax fraud.

This is the first sentence handed down in the state for a case involving CARES Act fraud.

Passed in 2020, the CARES Act was designed to provide emergency financial aid to Americans suffering from the economic effects caused by the coronavirus.

Evidence presented in court showed that from April to August of 2020, Dorsey fraudulently applied for and received $1,253,460.35 by way of seven Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and two Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

Officials say each of the applications submitted by Dorsey contained false information like overstated business revenues, inflated numbers of employees and addresses where businesses do not exist. Dorsey created false documentation or created businesses for the sole purpose of obtaining the loans.

During the investigation, agents with the IRS discovered Dorsey had also been engaged in fraudulent tax return preparation through one of her businesses. She prepared multiple tax returns on behalf of others and claimed deductions she knew were false.

Multiple agencies seized more than $500,000 of stolen funds that were in bank accounts controlled by Dorsey, and another account with around $130,000 was frozen. These funds will be applied toward the restitution Dorsey owes.

After her sentence, Dorsey will have a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. She will also have to pay more than $1 million in restitution for her CARES Act-related fraud and $13,865 in restitution to the IRS as a result of her tax fraud.

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