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Online Business Owner Found Guilty of Extensive COVID Loan Fraud across Colorado and Texas; Husband also Involved in Scheme

Online Business Owner Found Guilty of Extensive COVID Loan Fraud across Colorado and Texas; Husband also Involved in Scheme

A woman has been found guilty on all charges by a Denver jury for allegedly submitting false documents to obtain federal COVID support for her online businesses. She had received nearly half a million dollars before her funding was terminated by federal authorities.

Shambrica Washington, 39, has been convicted on all 31 counts of wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, and false claims.

The jury delivered its verdict on June 28, concluding the trial in federal court a day earlier than expected.

Federal prosecutors have stated that Washington was the proprietor of Tiny Toes and Tiaras, an online boutique specializing in high-end baby clothing, as well as TrueLove’s Daughters, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women. From March to July 2020, Washington secured loans from the Small Business Administration and JPMorgan Chase to support its economic recovery. The total amount received was $485,749.00. Prosecutors have alleged that the loan applications submitted by her businesses included inaccurate details regarding the number of employees, wages, revenues, and operational costs.

In addition, prosecutors alleged that Washington used the money acquired through illegal means to buy a car and a specially designed house, cover the costs of elective surgery, and pay off credit card debt and other expenses.

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Prosecutors have revealed that Washington’s applications for millions of dollars in additional loans, grants, and tax credits were ultimately denied. Among the grants awarded was a $6 million SBA grant specifically designated for concert venues that have been forced to close.

Washington and her husband Jean Victor Damus resided in Fountain during the time of the infractions. In the fall of 2020, they made the decision to relocate to Allen, Texas. According to prosecutors, Washington allegedly submitted inaccurate information for federal COVID relief funds on behalf of another company specializing in high-end children’s fashion.

Online Business Owner Found Guilty of Extensive COVID Loan Fraud across Colorado and Texas; Husband also Involved in Scheme (1)
Shambrica Washington in a profile photo on several of her social media accounts. (CBS News)

The couple successfully sold their Fountain home for $420,000 and were able to secure a loan of less than $24,000 to finalize the purchase of their new home in Texas, which has an assessed value of $1,140,000, as per online public records.

The couple was first indicted by federal authorities in June 2022. Victor Damus entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors one year later and received his sentence in November for making false claims to the Internal Revenue Service. He was given a three-year sentence of supervised probation.

According to federal authorities, it has been alleged that Washington did not disclose her criminal record on at least one application for federal funds. Washington admitted to committing identity theft in El Paso County court in June 2020, coinciding with the period when she was suspected of completing fraudulent federal applications.

She received a two-year deferred sentence in the county case, along with 100 hours of community service. The county case has been re-opened, though. As reported by CBS News, Washington’s presence has been confirmed for a review hearing on Thursday.

She is scheduled to appear before a judge for her federal fraud sentencing in late September.

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