Thursday, May 2, 2024

Jacksonville Attorney Gets 75 Months for COVID-19 Relief Scam; Report: Michigan Schools Spent Almost Half of COVID Funds on Employees, and other C-Virus related stories

Jacksonville attorney gets 75 months for COVID-19 relief scam:
Shaquandra Woods, 41, previously faced up to 20 years after a federal jury convicted her in December.
A Jacksonville attorney is paying the price for her transgressions in gratuitously taking advantage of a federal COVID-19 small business relief program.
Shaquandra Woods, 41, was sentenced last week to 75 months in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia. She faced up to 20 years after a federal jury convicted her in December.
U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker also ordered her to pay $42,848 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release following her prison term, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
“Shaquandra Woods prolifically filed fraudulent applications for COVID-19 pandemic relief funds for herself and for others,” U.S. Attorney Jill Steinberg said. “With our law enforcement partners, we will continue to prosecute those who engage in such self-enriching behavior at taxpayers’ expense.”
The CARES Act authorized the Small Business Administration to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans to eligible small businesses experiencing substantial financial interruptions due to the pandemic.
Woods, an attorney licensed in Florida and Georgia, completed at least nine applications for CARES Act funding for herself and others, fabricating and submitting false documents to support the applications, federal prosecutors said. She was successful in obtaining more than $300,000 for herself. --->READ MORE HERE
Report: Michigan schools spent almost half of COVID funds on employees:
A new report found Michigan school districts spent their COVID-19 funds similarly to their general budget, with nearly half spent on employee compensation and benefits.
A Mackinac Center for Public Policy report shows how school districts have spent $2.5 billion of the $6 billion in federal pandemic aid between the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.
To help address the challenges of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress distributed unprecedented amounts of money to public schools across the country from March 2020 to March 2021. Michigan schools received $6 billion total, with each district receiving varying amounts, ranging from about $500 extra per student to as much as $50,000 per pupil. School districts serving the poorest students received the largest amounts.
Across three school years, the report says employee salaries and benefits comprised 47% of total pandemic relief expenditures. Employee compensation is consistently the largest portion of school budgets, so the additional spending follows that trend.
Despite spending $1.2 billion of COVID aid on personnel, staffing levels only increased by 3%. This suggests that much of this extra spending on employee compensation took the form of raises for existing employees rather than hiring new staff, according to the report. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Study finds COVID-19 pandemic led to some, but not many, developmental milestone delays in infants and young children

COVID-19 Didn’t Delay Development As Much As Believed

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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