HomeMiami NewsFormer City of Miami employees pleaded guilty to misusing government-provided relief funds

Former City of Miami employees pleaded guilty to misusing government-provided relief funds


Miami, Florida – Two former employees of the City of Miami Police Department (MPD) have entered guilty pleas in connection with separate cases of COVID-19 relief fraud, marking a significant moment in the ongoing battle against pandemic-related criminal activities.

Guilty Pleas Unveiled in Relief Fraud Cases

Sheana Haslem, a 38-year-old former Police Staffing Specialist at the MPD, and Keandra Carter, a 35-year-old former MPD Public Service Aide, found themselves at the center of legal scrutiny for exploiting financial assistance programs intended to support individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check also: Miami man spent over $4 million in COVID-19 relief loans and grants to fund an extravagant lifestyle; sentenced to nearly 6 years in federal prison

On March 6, 2024, Haslem pleaded guilty to wire fraud for her involvement in submitting fraudulent applications for both a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advance. Admitting to overstatements regarding her business activities and revenues, Haslem managed to secure a $10,000 EIDL advance and a $20,832 PPP loan through deceitful claims of owning a hair and nail salon business and a security officer business, respectively.

Similarly, Carter’s guilty plea on February 13, 2024, also for wire fraud, stemmed from her submission of a falsified PPP loan application. Claiming to be the sole proprietor of a hair braiding business with an exaggerated gross income of $1,100,000 for 2019, Carter fraudulently obtained a $20,833 PPP loan.

Both former MPD employees now face the possibility of up to twenty years in prison, with Haslem’s sentencing scheduled for May 28 and Carter’s for May 2, 2024, before U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams in Miami, Florida.

Check also: Florida drug leader sentenced to life in prison for his role in an FBI informant’s murder, conspiracy to distribute cocaine

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, the Miami Field Office of the FBI, and the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General (SBA OIG), among others, worked together to bring these cases to light. The investigations highlight the dedication of federal and local agencies to pursuing individuals who misuse government-provided relief funds.

The guilty pleas of Haslem and Carter came as a result of a broader initiative led by the Department of Justice’s COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force, established on May 17, 2021. This task force aims to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud by enhancing coordination across government agencies, employing advanced techniques to identify fraudulent actors, and leveraging insights from previous enforcement efforts.

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