OMAHA, Neb. -- A couple from Georgia was sentenced to probation and made to pay restitutions for fraud.

U.S. Attorney Steven Russell said 32-year-old Jeremy Sanders and 27-year-old Lakeda Sanders, husband and wife, both of Georgia, were sentenced on in federal court in Omaha on March 10. Jeremy Sanders was sentenced to four years of probation with three months of home confinement and ordered to pay restitution of $21,304.88. Lakeda Sanders was sentenced to four years of probation with six months of home confinement, and ordered to pay restitution of $27,793.79. Both pled guilty in December 2022 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to court documents, both Jeremy and Lakeda Sanders submitted or caused to be submitted applications for Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans in 2020 and 2021. The PPP loan program was made by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials said Jeremy and Lakeda Sanders worked with others to make and submit loan applications that misrepresented payroll for their purported businesses and sole proprietorship. The businesses did not have employees, and the PPP applications were supported by false tax documents.

Authorities said Jeremy Sanders and an Omaha-based co-conspirator submitted fraudulent applications for loans totaling $41,290, and he got $20,690. Lakeda Sanders and a co-conspirator submitted fraudulent applications for loans totaling $220,000, and she got $24,166.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.