Written by Martin Walsh
Failed Democratic Cincinnati mayoral candidate Kelli Prather has been charged in a federal COVID-19 fraud case with five counts, including aggravated identify theft, bank fraud, and unauthorized disclosure of a social security number
If found guilty on all charges, she could face more than 30 years in prison.
Prather allegedly defrauded the Payment Protection Program by applying for loans for six different businesses that she claimed she owned: Enhanced Healthcare Solutions, Life Skills Enhancement, Prather Property Management, Reliable Ambulette Services, Rich Glo Management Services, and Tots R Us.
The PPP is a loan designed to provide an incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
Federal prosecutors said Prather asked for $600,000 but only received $19,800.
According to court documents, Prather spent $8,000 on personal items and eating out at restaurants and gave another $8,000 to a boyfriend.
The FBI got tipped off by Fifth Third Bank after they found discrepancies in Prather’s loan applications.
The FBI’s investigation found that none of Prather’s businesses were operational.
“Instead, review of Prather’s banking activity indicated money was either being pocketed by Prather or funding expenses that appear to be personal in nature such as salon and restaurant visits,” the court documents state.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Prather is facing the following charges:
- Bank fraud
- Committing fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits
- Wire fraud
- Making false statements
- Making false statements in connection to credit or loan applications
- False representation of a social security number
WCPO Cincinnati reported:
Three Cincinnati women, including former mayoral hopeful Kelli Prather, received hundreds of thousands of dollars from federal pandemic relief funds after lying in their applications, according to federal prosecutors.
Prather, 48; Toni Wright, 34; and Melissa McGhee, 37, each stand charged with bank fraud in connection to their loan applications and could be sentenced to over 30 years in prison.
Prather applied for six Paycheck Protection Program loans — one for each of the six businesses she claimed to own: Enhanced Healthcare Solutions, Life Skills Enhancement, Prather Property Management, Reliable Ambulette Services, Rich Glo Management Services and Tots R Us.
Prather, a Democrat, previously filed to run for Cincinnati mayor but failed to get the 500 valid signatures needed to be on the May 4 primary ballot, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Prather submitted three petitions each with 900 to 1,000 signatures. Each time the board of elections staff found less than 500 signatures, the Enquirer reported on March 12.
In addition to Prather, the U.S. attorney’s office says three other people, Toni Wright of Cincinnati, Melissa McGhee of Cincinnati, and Jon Alan Bader of Dayton, was charged with defrauding COVID-19 pandemic relief funding programs.