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Auditor’s office arrests woman for stealing $38K in COVID relief funds

Auditor’s office arrests woman for stealing $38K in COVID relief funds
Auditor’s office arrests woman for stealing $38K in COVID relief funds(WLBT)
Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 10:27 AM CDT
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BOLIVAR CO., Miss. (WLBT) - A Bolivar County woman is arrested for fraud relating to the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) “Back to Business” grant program.

State Auditor Shad White’s office said Ethel Cain submitted $400,000 worth of potentially fraudulent grant applications.

Investigators say Cain fraudulently submitted grant applications on behalf of other businesses to get CARES Act stimulus funding administered by MDA.

Most applications were denied, but Cain managed to use her company, Lifeline Financial Freedom Solutions, to receive a total of $38,500.

The auditor’s office said the female entrepreneur submitted multiple grant applications for the same company and knowingly submitted grant applications for ineligible businesses.

“This is my office’s first case arresting someone for COVID stimulus fraud,” said Auditor White. “Others out there thinking of stealing stimulus funds should know: it doesn’t have to be our last.”

Cain surrendered herself at the Bolivar County Sheriff’s office Monday.

Bail will be set by the court.

She faces up to 15 years in prison and $30,000 in fines if convicted on all charges.

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