Houston woman accused of buying homes, Land Rover and Chanel items in alleged $3.7M PPP scam

Mayra Moreno Image
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Woman used CARES Act money to buy homes and cars, feds say
The Justice Department lists some of the purchases as nearly $725,000 for homes in Katy and Cypress, and $78,000 for a 2020 Land Rover.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A 37-year-old Houston woman is being accused of buying dozens of luxury items using CARES Act money.

The Justice Department indicted 37-year-old LaDonna Wiggins with bank fraud, making a false statement to a bank and money laundering.

According to a statement issued on Tuesday, Wiggins submitted two Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications and received more than $3.6 million. The charges allege Wiggins used the money to make personal purchases, including two homes, multiple vehicles and luxury goods.

The Justice Department lists some of the purchases as nearly $725,000 for homes in Katy and Cypress, $78,000 for a 2020 Land Rover and a $63,000 purchase at Chanel.

RELATED: Texas tops the nation in CARES Act fraud

The video above breaks down the previous fraud cases regarding the CARES Act as well what's going on now with funding that is supposed to help small businesses struggling during the pandemic.

Other purchases listed by officials include $46,000 at Neiman Marcus and $14,000 at Apple.

Wiggins appeared before a U.S. Magistrate on Tuesday.

Her attorney issued a statement on Wednesday, proclaiming her innocence. It read, in part: "We are very disappointed to learn that the government has decided to pursue criminal charges against our client, LaDonna Wiggins, after our repeated requests to sit down and discuss this matter with them. Ms. Wiggins is innocent of the charges brought against her in a nine-count indictment, as well as any and all allegations of wrongdoing which the government has lodged against her. Contrary to their allegations, Ms. Wiggins is a highly successful, young, African American business woman who has cultivated several thriving local businesses and is an upstanding member of and asset to the Houston community."

The attorney's statement went on to say they would take the matter to trial by jury.

If convicted, Wiggins faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a possible $1 million maximum fine.

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SEE ALSO: Man accused of stealing $1.6 million in CARES Act money to buy cars and take trips

Lee Price III is accused of spending $1.6 million in CARES Act money on a Lamborghini Urus, which starts at a price of about $207,000, and a Rolex watch. He also allegedly spent thousands at strip clubs, among other things.