Chicago woman charged with unemployment, COVID-19 relief fraud: prosecutors

A Chicago woman was accused of small business loan and unemployment benefits fraud following a federal investigation. 

Briana Jackson, 25, fraudulently obtained approximately $75,000 in federal Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and unemployment benefits, according to prosecutors. 

She was charged with six counts of theft, one count of loan fraud and three counts of wire fraud. Along with eight counts of forgery and one count of state benefits fraud. 

"Millions of Americans across the country were forced to rely on unemployment and federal loan assistance during the height of the pandemic," Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. "My office’s Task Force on Unemployment Insurance Benefits Fraud will continue working diligently with our partners to ensure that individuals who took advantage of these programs are held accountable to taxpayers."

Jackson’s next court date was scheduled for Jan. 19, 2024.

"Stealing funds meant for small businesses means stealing from families and communities," said Robert W. "Wes" Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Chicago office. "These charges show that we will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to ensure that public funds are used to improve our neighborhoods."

According to Raoul, Jackson received approximately $40,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans after fraudulently filing applications for the program. Raoul also alleges Jackson fraudulently collected approximately $35,000 in unemployment benefits from the state of Illinois to which she was not entitled.