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Oakland woman sentenced to three years for pandemic relief fraud

An Oakland woman has been sentenced to three years in prison in a million dollar pandemic relief fraud case, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds announced Thursday.

Christina Burden, 32, had pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud and two counts of money laundering.

In her plea agreement, Burden admitted to registering multiple fictitious businesses with the California Secretary of State, and she then modified documents by inserting incorrect dates and purported business operations in order to qualify the fictitious entities for loans from the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, prosecutors said.

She also submitted fake IRS tax documents that contained false statements about the number of employees, payroll costs and wages paid related to the fictitious businesses.

Prosecutors said she falsely claimed she had 89 employees and a monthly payroll of more than $700,000 in the fictitious businesses.

In total, she tried to obtain more than $4.5 million in pandemic relief loans. She received $992,291 in fraudulently obtained PPP loans and another $150,900 in fraudulently obtained EIDL loans and advances, prosecutors said.

She spent the money on high-end luxury items and services including private jet travel, other airfare, hotel expenses, purchases from Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, boat and car rentals, restaurants, entertainment, and automobiles.

In addition to her prison sentence, Burden was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,143,191.

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