Crime & SafetyVirginia

Hampton woman receives five-year prison term for COVID-19 loan fraud

Newport News, Virginia – A Hampton woman, Lapondia Wallace, 53, was sentenced to five years in prison today for her involvement in identity theft and leading a conspiracy to defraud the government and financial institutions for pandemic-related loans and other benefits.

Fraudulent Loan Applications and Unemployment Claims

According to court documents, Wallace was responsible for at least 22 fraudulent pandemic loan applications and five additional fraudulent applications for pandemic unemployment insurance benefits. This fraudulent activity led to losses exceeding $250,000 for the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Wallace withdrew significant amounts of the fraudulent proceeds as U.S. currency before they could be seized. She used the illicit funds for gambling, travel, and luxury retail items such as clothing and shoes.

History of Fraudulent Activities

Wallace’s criminal history includes at least fifteen prior convictions for fraud, forgery, and related offenses. Notably, she had a 2021 federal conviction for mail fraud. The pandemic fraud occurred while Wallace was under court supervision for her previous federal conviction. In her prior case, Wallace and her co-conspirators were involved in filing fraudulent insurance claims repeatedly.

Federal Law Enforcement’s Role

The sentencing was a result of the collaborative efforts of several federal law enforcement agencies. Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; Damon E. Wood, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Washington Division; and Troy W. Springer, Special Agent in Charge, National Capital Region, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, all played a significant role in investigating the case.

Prosecution and Sentencing

Assistant U.S. Attorney D. Mack Coleman and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Alyssa Levey-Weinstein prosecuted the case. The sentencing was handed down by Senior U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson, who imposed a five-year prison term on Wallace.

Marco Harmon

I was born and raised in Roanoke, VA. I studied Communications Studies at Roanoke College, and I’ve been part of the news industry ever since. Visiting my favorite downtown Roanoke bars and restaurants with my friends is how I spend most of my free time when I'm not at the desk.

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