ATLANTA – Olivia Ware, who led an unsuccessful campaign for mayor of Conyers in 2017, has been arraigned on federal bank fraud and money laundering charges stemming from an alleged scheme to use a business she she started stealing over $ 323,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program.
Ware, 61, an Oxford resident, was arrested on March 16. She allegedly used the money to buy an inground pool, furniture and other home improvement items and to pay off the principal of her mortgage.
“Authorities continue to review Paycheck Protection Program loans for acts of fraud, as evidenced by the charges against Ware,” Acting US Attorney Kurt R. Erskine said. “Those considering flying under the Paycheck Protection Program should think twice.”
According to Erskine and other information presented to the court, in 2020 Ware was the CEO of a Georgian company called Let’s Talk About the Family Inc., but according to state records, she was not paying any employees a salary. Ware allegedly submitted a bogus request to a bank for a PPP loan for the company that included fictitious tax records claiming to show the company had 54 employees who were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages. As a result of this false information, the bank loaned more than $ 323,000 in PPP funds to Ware’s company.
“It has been said that bad times bring out the best in people, this case is not an example,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees security investigation operations. inland in Georgia and Alabama. “Ware attempted to defraud the government with money intended to help small businesses affected by the pandemic to continue their operations and take care of their employees. Instead of helping others through a difficult time because the money was planned, she used it for personal gain. Whenever a scammer steals money from the PPP fund, another legitimate business is unable to get those funds to help real employees with real families. “
During Ware’s 2017 campaign for mayor, Ware cited her experience as a community leader, grant proposal writer, public speaker, family counselor, business development consultant, and minister as part of her journey. Ware also ran for mayor of Conyers in 2013, but was declared ineligible after falsely claiming she had been a legal resident of the town for the required period. Voter registration records and voting history showed Ware resided at addresses in both unincorporated Rockdale County and Newton County in 2012. Ware sued the town alleging that the city had not informed her of a hearing on the matter by regular or certified US mail or by hand. delivery. Ware subsequently dropped the lawsuit and apologized to the city.
This matter is being investigated as part of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations. US Assistant Lawyers Bernita B. Malloy and Trevor C. Wilmot are continuing the case.