Posted on June 11, 2024

Atlanta Prosecutor Jailed for $15M COVID Fraud Donated to DA Fani Willis as She Splurged on Diamonds and a Rolls Royce

Alex Hammer, Daily Mail, June 9, 2024

The ex-assistant city attorney of Atlanta who was jailed for defrauding the federal government out of $15 million in COVID relief loans also made a donation to the local DA.

Shelitha Robertson, 62, donated $1,000 to Fani Willis’s Democratic primary election campaign around the time she got the massive payouts – obtained after declaring inflated businesses to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), filings show.

A few years later, the Georgia jurist would charge former President Donald Trump with racketeering following a 13-count indictment accused him of trying to illegally overturn the 2020 election.

Trump is one of 19 indicted in the sprawling case, which was halted Wednesday as a result of Robertson’s arrest.

Also a life advice podcaster, Robertson used the funds meant for small businesses to buy a 10 carat diamond ring, a Rolls Royce, and a motorcycle, while Trump, 77, continues to deny any wrongdoing.

The donation, moreover, was dished out May 22, 2020, less than two months before the PPP program was frantically rolled out.

Around that time, Robertson – who has remained on bond since pleading not guilty to the five charges of fraud in December 2022 – claimed she needed the cash to support four businesses she owned.

The request was granted, even as she erroneously claimed she presided over a workforce of more than 400, meaning she was entitled to millions in emergency handouts.

In reality, she was falsely inflating those numbers and monthly payrolls with false supporting tax documentation, fed said at her sentencing.

There, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan decried Robertson for her actions, citing her pedigree as a former police officer and attorney for the city of Atlanta.

‘Motivated by greed, Robertson deceptively obtained funds that were designated to provide emergency financial relief to struggling small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic,’ he said of the fraudster, who was also a successful businesswoman.

‘Today the defendant in this case was held accountable for fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars through the Paycheck Protection Program and using those stolen funds to enrich herself, while small businesses were struggling,’ added Kyle A. Myles, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, Atlanta Region (FDIC OIG).

‘The FDIC OIG remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to pursue and bring to justice those who took advantage of such pandemic relief programs and threatened the integrity of our Nation’s financial institutions.’

He went on to describe how Robertson and confirmed accomplice Chandra Norton submitted fraudulent applications on behalf of four businesses Robertson actually owned, resulting in $7,020,779 in PPP funds deposited into her bank accounts.

Robertson then used the proceeds for her personal benefit, he said – citing the purchases of luxury items like a 10-carat diamond ring and the transferring funds to family members and Norton, feds said.

the Rolls and other items were bought as well, and officials traced three wire transfers made in the month of May 2020 alone.

They amounted to more than $5million – a third of the outrageous sum secured by Robertson and her co-conspirators.

It is not yet known whether Willis – the DA of Fulton County – will be included in that class when all is said and done, as officials look into the extent of their relationship.

In the interim, Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee last week told the court the the case will be on hold indefinitely – until a panel of judges rules on whether Willis should be disqualified.

After receiving Robertson’s donation, Willis went on to defeat her boss – who was also plagued by scandal – in longtime district attorney Paul Howard, following a contentious Democratic primary and runoff in August 2020.

As for Robertson, she was sentenced to 849 days in prison Friday, with 637 days credit served and 212 days of good time credit.

That amounts to sentence of about seven years, after which she also will be on probation for 44 months.

She served as assistant city attorney for the city of Atlanta in the early 2000s, after working as a police officer for more than decade.

She went on to complete law school, and build up up several successful businesses.

Among them was her and her influencer daughter’s podcast ‘Mommy and Me’, in which the pair discussed ‘navigating life’s challenges’ and provide advice.

In one segment from October 2023 ironically billed as ‘integrity over dollars’, Robertson advised followers to ‘chase their dream’ because ‘ money will come’.

‘When you have a passion for something that you love, you can do it for free. Don’t ever chase the money,’ she says in the resurfaced clip.

‘The money will come. Chase your passion, Chase your dream. The money will come.’

Her daughter, Brii Renee, posted a glowing tribute to her mother just a few weeks ago – well after the fraud allegations came to light and as evidence against her piled up.

‘I wouldn’t be who I am today without the amazing mother, example, hustler, you are!’, she wrote at the time, sharing the post to her more than 600,000 Instagram followers.

‘Thank you for every sacrifice you made and every dream you pushed me to achieve!’

A few months earlier, a federal jury convicted Robertson of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering – the same charges that saw her sentenced Friday.

There, Northern District Court of Georgia, Robertson broke down in tears upon hearing she would spend the next seven years behind bars.

She told the court she was “dead broke,’ and that her ‘business is gone.

‘My (law) license is gone. My assets are gone.’ she continued. The only thing I have left is my family and my faith in God,” she said.

Robertson will get credit for the six months she’s spent in custody since December, which along with the good behavior credits, shed 20 months off her sentence.

Willis’s office has yet to comment on the sentencing or the donation, which was first reported Sunday by The New York Post.

Robertson’s sentence, meanwhile, is already underway.