RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A Wilson man is accused of conspiring with others to fraudulently obtain a loan of COVID-19 pandemic relief funds, federal prosecutors say.
The U.S. Department of Justice says 44-year-olde Nekita Donyae Hooks pleaded guilty Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert T. Numbers II to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
He faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced later this year.
Hooks was charged for his role in a Paycheck Protection Plan scheme that has already resulted in guilty pleas from a Texas couple and two Wake County businessmen.
Prosecutors say Hooks took phony supporting documents from the couple — Edward Whitaker and Schunda Coleman — in exchange for 25 percent of the total loan proceeds. The fake application contained false information about the number of employees and their pre-pandemic wages to help them qualify for the loan, prosecutors said.
Whitaker was accused of instructing Hooks how to make it appear that the loan was being paid to employees when it was actually being transferred back to Hooks, prosecutors said, with those phony records then turned into the Small Business Administration for 100 percent loan forgiveness.