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Provo woman pleads guilty to PPP loan application fraud

A Provo woman is pleading guilty for her role in a Paycheck Protection Program loan fraud scheme. (PHOTO: File, Pexels)

PROVO, Utah — A Provo woman is pleading guilty for her role in a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan fraud scheme.

Owner, employee both plead guilty and await sentencing

A release last week from the United States Attorney’s Office District of Utah indicates 49-year-old Lisa Bradshaw Rowberry was employed by the Frisbu trucking company.

The owner of that company, 52-year-old Hubert Ivan Ugarte, also pleaded guilty last month to PPP loan fraud and federal bribery charges involving the FedEx Ground Hub.

The release states “according to the plea agreement, Rowberry admitted to submitting a fraudulent loan application to Transportation Alliance Bank in Ogden, Utah, for PPP loans authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and that she fraudulently obtained $210,000 in PPP loans for Frisbu after failing to disclose on the loan application that Ugarte was under federal indictment for his role in a bribery scheme involving the FedEx Ground Hub.”

Bribery scheme nets around $24 million for trucking owner

It was previously discovered that Ugarte paid a FedEx senior manager in the Salt Lake City hub $490,000 to obtain preferential treatment for delivery routes he would not have qualified for under the shipping company’s policies.

Eventually, the “over scaling” scheme netted his trucking companies $24 million over a seven-year period.

In May 2020, Ugarte received $210,000 from the Transportation Alliance Bank under the PPP. As part of applying for the loan, he had agreed at least three-quarters of the money would be used for payroll purposes. Instead, he spent roughly 60% of the funds on past-due truck payments.

Special agents from the FBI, IRS and the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General conducted the investigations into Rowberry and Ugarte, according to the release.

Sentencing for Ugarte is set for June 3, while sentencing for Rowberry will take place on July 7.