A Chatham County man could face up to three decades in prison after admitting he fraudulently received funds intended to support COVID-19 small businesses and possessed illegal drugs.
Brandon Lamar Williams, aka “NH Skilo,” 30, of Savannah, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud and possession of marijuana, said David H. Estes, US Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Williams’ guilty plea subjects him to a statutory sentence of up to 26 years in prison, and since he has already been convicted of drug-related offenses, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days in prison, in addition to substantial fines and reparations, followed by up to three years of supervised release after termination of a prison sentence.
There is no probation in the federal system.
“With our law enforcement partners, we continue to identify and hold accountable the fraudsters who illegally appropriated more than $650 billion from Congress allocated to small business relief during the pandemic,” said US Attorney Estes. “Brandon Lamar Williams is learning that stealing from taxpayers comes with a price.”
As detailed in court documents and proceedings, Williams, who goes by the name NH Skilo, submitted false information in loan applications to the Small Business Administration for economic assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act paycheck protection program in mid-2021. Williams received more than $40,000 from a lender participating in the program.
Williams also admitted to two counts of marijuana possession in connection with a traffic stop by Savannah Police Department in August 2021 and marijuana in his possession when arrested in January 2022. He has been convicted of drug offenses in federal and state courts. US District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. will enter the sentencing following an investigation by the US Probation Service.
“Law enforcement is at its best when we all come together to improve public safety,” said Beau Kolodka, assistant special agent in charge for the Atlanta Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. “ATF is always looking for creative ways to work with our law enforcement partners to collectively make our jurisdictions safer.”
“Fraudsters who attempt to use fake information to defraud SBA programs will be brought to justice,” said Amaleka McCall-Bathwaite, special agent in charge of SBA OIG’s Eastern Region. “OIG is focused on rooting out bad actors in these vital SBA programs. I want to thank the US Attorney’s office and our law enforcement partners for their service and commitment to ensuring justice is served.”
Acting SBA General Counsel Therese Meers stated, “I applaud the efforts of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia to bring this case and the results achieved. It is symbolic of the ongoing efforts by federal law enforcement agencies to make every effort to detect and respond vigorously to fraud committed by individuals seeking to abuse the SBA’s assistance programs. Identifying and aggressively prosecuting fraudulent activity that harms not only the agency’s grant programs, but also those in our communities who are the intended beneficiaries of such a program, is one of SBA’s top priorities.”
The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives with support from the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General and is being prosecuted for the United States by the US Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
This is a press release from the US Attorney’s Office.