Former Atlanta city attorney sentenced to 7 years over $15 million pandemic loan case

Abu Mubarik June 10, 2024
Shelitha Robertson allegedly received COVID relief funds through fraudulent means -- Photo via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Following the havoc the COVID pandemic caused across the world, negatively affecting businesses, government revenues and individuals, countries implemented programs to reduce the impact of the virus on individuals and businesses.

In the U.S., the government implemented the COVID-19 relief loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and dispensed several amounts to citizens. While the program was aimed at alleviating the suffering of small business owners and individuals, others took advantage of the program for their parochial interests.

In 2022, Face2face Africa reported a Florida man, Valesky Barosy, who was accused by federal prosecutors of using COVID-19 relief money to buy luxury items such as Lamborghini and Rolex watches. Per the indictment, he submitted fraudulent loan applications on behalf of himself and his accomplices, seeking more than $4.2 million in PPP loans.

Two years down the line, another person has been sentenced for abusing the program. Shelitha Robertson, who formerly served as an Assistant City Attorney and police officer for the City of Atlanta was sentenced to more than seven years in prison after she stole about $15 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans from the government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A jury convicted Robertson of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering on December 19, 2023, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

She and her co-conspirators reportedly got the loans on behalf of four businesses she owned and controlled, the Department of Justice said in a news release Friday.

“Motivated by greed, Robertson deceptively obtained funds that were designated to provide emergency financial relief to struggling small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute criminals who stole pandemic relief funds.”

According to the Department of Justice, Robertson used the money she got from the loans to buy luxury items, including a 10-carat diamond ring. What is more, she also transferred some of the money to other family members and her co-conspirator, Chandra Norton.

Robertson, 62, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steven D. Grimberg to seven years and three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 10, 2024

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