United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Hampshire

06/10/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/10/2024 11:44

Woman Sentenced for Dozens of Fraudulent Applications for Pandemic Relief Funds Resulting in the Theft of More Than $200,000 from Taxpayers

CONCORD - A former Derry woman was sentenced today in federal court for her role in submitting fraudulent applications for COVID-19 pandemic relief funds and stealing more than $200,000 from taxpayers, U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young announces.

Tammy Dodge, 44, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Paul J. Barbadoro to 12 months and 1 day in federal prison and 2 years of supervised release. On March 4, 2024, Tammy Dodge plead guilty to one count of bank fraud. Her husband and co-conspirator, David Dodge, was sentenced to 34 months in prison on May 29, 2024. The Dodges were ordered to pay $219,323.34 in restitution.

"The defendant, along with her husband, submitted numerous fraudulent applications for COVID relief funds intended for individuals and businesses who suffered financial harm as a result of the pandemic," said U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young. "The defendant's fraud not only resulted in the theft of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, but her actions also undermined the public of its confidence in pandemic relief programs. The sentence imposed today shows that those who stole from taxpayers during the COVID pandemic face federal prison time for their crimes."

"The Treasury Inspector General for Tax administration (TIGTA) aggressively investigates the abuse of IRS systems to defraud federal and state relief programs through fraudulent applications," stated Special Agent-in-Charge Michael Carpenter. "In this case, the defendant diverted COVID-19 pandemic relief funds intended for legitimate businesses and their employees for personal gains."

The Dodges claimed to own or control multiple businesses in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, including Teacher Tammy (a/k/a Teacher Tammy's), Optimized Operations, and Business Done Right. However, these companies had no operations and served no business purpose.

The Dodges submitted dozens of fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from private lenders, Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) from the Small Business Administration, and pandemic relief grants from the New Hampshire Governor's Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR) and the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC). To commit the fraud, the Dodges also used the Social Security Number of a minor child to apply for and obtain an Employer Identification Number from the IRS for a fictional company called Consulting Services.

The Dodges used fake supporting documents in the applications. For example, on May 6, 2020, Tammy Dodge applied for a $30,064 PPP loan for Teacher Tammy. She provided multiple fake supporting documents, including a fraudulent tax filing claiming she paid employees $132,000 in 2019, and a false Certificate of Formation purportedly issued by the New Hampshire Secretary of State.

Overall, because lenders detected most of the fraudulent applications, the Dodges obtained $219,323.34. They misused the fraudulently obtained funds, including to purchase a hot tub and a diamond ring.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration led the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander S. Chen is prosecuting the case.

During the early part of the coronavirus pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act included multiple relief provisions to help the millions of Americans and many small businesses adversely affected by the pandemic, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Private lenders could participate in the PPP. The loans, which were supposed to be used for payroll, were fully guaranteed by the government. If borrowers used the PPP loans for payroll and other approved expenses as intended, they could apply for loan forgiveness. The CARES Act also opened up the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. As with PPP loans, EIDL loans were supposed to be used for payroll and other business expenses such as rent and mortgage.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department's response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice's National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.