RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Tiffany Dawn Russell was sentenced to 63 months in prison for her role in an extensive multi-year fraud conspiracy and was sentenced to 36 months for filing a false tax return, according to the Department of Justice. These sentences will be served concurrently.
Earlier this year, Russell pled guilty to charges relating to her efforts to obtain more than $2.5 million from at least 12 banks and the United States Small Business Administration. In addition to her prison sentences, Russell was ordered to forfeit more than $2 million in fraudulent proceeds.
“This defendant spent years defrauding banks and the federal government, and now she’ll be spending years behind bars,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “This fraud scheme is even more egregious because the defendant falsely obtained more than $1 million in COVID-relief funds intended to help legitimate, hard-working business owners weather the pandemic.”
Russell was originally indicted in November 2020 for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, access device fraud, and misuse of a social security number. According to the indictment, Russell and her co-conspirators applied for loans and credit cards with social security numbers that were not issued to them by the Social Security Administration.
Investigators said, Russell and her co-conspirators also created new credit profiles to open bank accounts and make purchases from retailers. Russell was charged with using a fake identity to purchase a BMW and to obtain a credit card. Investigators said she used that credit card to pay for her 2016 butt augmentation surgery.
Russell also provided false documents to purchase three properties, including an oceanfront residence in Nags Head. She then used the proceeds to purchase five other homes in North Carolina, Maryland and Alabama.
Finally, between March 30, 2020 and June 29, 2020, court records said Russell and others fraudulently obtained more than $1 million in loans under the CARES Act, which was enacted by Congress to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The 10 loan applications, including two for her law firm, contained false representations relating to the number of employees, monthly payroll, revenue, and expenses.