Developer Sentenced to Prison for Covid-19 Relief Fraud

Developer Sentenced to Prison for Covid-19 Relief Fraud

Luisa Rodriguez
2 min read

Developer Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Covid-19 Relief Programs

Developer Eric Sheppard has been found guilty and sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for defrauding Covid-19 relief programs, involving $900,000 in fraudulent loans through his company WSG Development. The company misrepresented employee numbers and financials, targeting the Paycheck Protection Program and another Small Business Administration loan by submitting false documents through four WSG affiliates. A forfeiture hearing is scheduled for August 23 to determine if Sheppard must surrender personal property to cover the $900,000 in restitution owed to the federal government. This case highlights the vulnerabilities in financial relief programs and the need for more stringent oversight and penalties to prevent future fraud.

Key Takeaways

  • Developer Eric Sheppard sentenced to 1.5 years for defrauding Covid-19 relief, involving $900,000 in fraudulent loans.
  • WSG Development misrepresented employee numbers and financials to obtain Paycheck Protection Program funds.
  • Forfeiture hearing set for Aug. 23 to determine if Sheppard must surrender personal property to cover restitution.
  • Sheppard's fraudulent activities involved false documents submitted through four WSG affiliates.
  • Case highlights vulnerabilities in financial relief programs and the need for more robust verification processes.


Eric Sheppard's fraud underscores systemic weaknesses in Covid-19 relief oversight, impacting government trust and potentially tightening eligibility criteria for future aid. Immediate consequences include Sheppard's imprisonment and potential asset forfeiture, while long-term effects could see stricter verification processes and penalties deterring similar frauds. This case may lead to increased scrutiny of loan applications, affecting legitimate small businesses by slowing down the approval process. Financial institutions and regulators will likely enhance their fraud detection mechanisms, influencing the operational dynamics of relief programs.

Did You Know?

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): A US federal initiative designed to provide small businesses with loans to maintain their payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. The loans could be partially or fully forgiven if businesses used the funds to keep employees on the payroll or rehire laid-off workers and for certain other expenses.
  • Wire Fraud: A crime that involves the use of electronic communications, such as the internet or telephone, to deceive victims for financial gain. It typically involves the transmission of false representations across state or national borders, which can lead to federal charges.
  • Forfeiture Hearing: A legal proceeding where a judge determines whether an individual must relinquish certain assets or property as a result of criminal activity. In this context, it is to decide if Eric Sheppard must surrender personal property to compensate for the fraudulently obtained funds.

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