Denver woman accused of stealing more than $3.3 million in COVID-relief money

A Denver woman is accused of stealing more than $3.3 million in COVID-relief money, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced Monday.

DeJane Reaniece Lattany, 32, was charged with wire fraud in connection with an alleged scheme to obtain fraudulent COVID-19 loans.

Prosecutors say Lattany, between June 2020 and January 2022, submitted fraudulent applications to the Small Business Administration on behalf of business entities she purportedly owned.

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In the applications, the Denver woman allegedly “made false statements regarding the entities’ number of employees, gross revenues, and cost of goods sold,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release. Lattany also told the federal office that the funds would be used for payroll, when, in fact, the bulk of the money was used for her “personal benefit,” prosecutors allege.

Lattany made her initial appearance in federal court Monday.

The arrest comes as the U.S. Department of Justice has stepped up enforcement on COVID-19 fraud in the wake of the global pandemic.

In 2021, the U.S. Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to enhance efforts aimed at going after those who took advantage of the millions poured into assistance programs.

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