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Columbus GA couple arrested, charged with SBA loan fraud

A Columbus couple face a maximum of 30 years in federal prison if convicted of stealing more than $ 364,000 intended to fund businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Curtis Porch, 48, and Dereen Porch, 43, were arrested Monday after a federal grand jury indicted on four counts on June 9, charging them with three counts of wire fraud and one count of theft of government property, according to a press release from the Justice Department.

If convicted, the couple faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000 for the wire theft charges and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000 for the theft of government property.

According to the indictment, the couple allegedly submitted fraudulent loan applications to the Small Business Administration (SBA) in June and July 2020, seeking CARES Act funds for shell companies that have not suffered any losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the press release.

The DOJ alleges that the companies did not exist, did not operate, or only existed on paper. As a result of the fraud, the defendants are charged with stealing or converting $ 364,200 at the SBA, the statement said.

The FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigations are investigating the case.

This story was originally published June 14, 2021 5:16 pm.

Sydney Sims is the last minute reporter for the Ledger-Enquirer. It covers local crime news and the latest city news. Prior to joining LE, she worked for The Auburn Villager in Auburn, Ala. covering local government and city events. She graduated from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia.