Rhode Island woman pleads guilty to fraud schemes

March 4, 2022Updated: March 4, 2022 10:24 a.m.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island woman accused of lying on her application for a federally backed mortgage loan and fraudulently applying for a COVID-19-related business loan and pandemic-related unemployment benefits has pleaded guilty, federal prosecutors said.

Juliana Martins, 53, of North Providence, pleaded guilty Thursday to making a false statement on a loan application and theft of government property, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Rhode Island.

Martins was already on federal probation when she applied for a Federal Housing Administration guaranteed loan, prosecutors said. In part, she lied about gaps in employment while serving her federal sentence, claiming she was unemployed due to a “family emergency,” prosecutors said.

She also submitted a fraudulent application for a Small Business Administration low-interest COVID-19-related loan in July 2020 by falsely claiming she was an independent contractor in the health service business who had been affected by the pandemic, prosecutors said.

She also fraudulently applied for COVID-19-related unemployment benefits while she was working as office manager in April 2020, authorities said. Overall, she received more than $40,000 in pandemic relief benefits to which she was not entitled.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 4.