Blythewood woman headed to federal prison

BLYTHEWOOD – A Blythewood woman will spend the next two years behind bars after pleading guilty to bilking the U.S. Government out of over $1.2 million in federal stimulus money.

Bridgett Dorsey, 39, of Blythewood, was sentenced earlier this month to defrauding the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (C.A.R.E.S.) Act, as well as tax fraud.

Dorsey’s last known address was on Artisan Drive. She previously lived in The LongCreek Plantation subdivision, records show. She remained free on a $25,000 bond while the case was pending and is expected to begin serving her sentence sometime after March 1, according to court records.

In addition, Dorsey must make nearly $1.08 million in restitution to the Small Business Administration, and serve three years of supervised release after her prison sentence expires.

Dorsey had faced up to 23 years in prison, four years of supervised release, and $350,000 in fines, according to court records.

It’s the first conviction and/or guilty plea of a South Carolinian relating to coronavirus aid, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Dorsey “not only stole from the federal government and engaged in tax fraud, but she prevented funds from reaching the hands of those who needed it the most,” U.S. Attorney Corey Ellis said in prepared remarks. “That this occurred during a pandemic makes her crimes particularly egregious.”

South Carolina and the rest of the nation have been coping with the economic fallout stemming from the pandemic, which saw unemployment skyrocket, and many businesses suspend operations or close altogether.

The CARES Act included numerous provisions designed to offset those economic impacts, including low interest loans to qualifying businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Since at least 2011, Dorsey has faced multiple debt collection lawsuits and judgments, according to Richland County court records.

Most recently, in August 2020 she was hit with a $40,699 judgment after defaulting on a private loan, county court records state.

Also in 2020, Dorsey made several fraudulent and false representations on a federal stimulus loan application for her business, Virtual Financial Services, Inc., federal court records state.

A news release stated she created false documentation or created businesses solely for the purpose of obtaining loans.

One such application filed in June 2020 resulted in a $150,000 payment she wasn’t entitled to receive. Another loan request filed a month earlier resulted in a payment of $86,250.

In all, Dorsey obtained loans and stimulus aid totaling $1,253,460.35, documents state.

The tax fraud indictment states Dorsey claimed nearly $25,000 in tax deductions for the 2019 tax year, deductions the indictment states she was not entitled to receive.

The indictments were issued in September 2021.

IRS investigators seized more than $530,000 from three accounts Dorsey had created. Those funds were applied toward the restitution she owes, the news release said.

“It is always a shame to see the rampant abuse of programs designed to help ordinary people struggling through the pandemic,” IRS investigator Brian Thomas said in a statement. “The IRS will continue to thoroughly investigate and vigorously target those who exploit the pandemic to commit tax fraud, and this case speaks to those efforts.”

In September 2021, Dorsey agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aiding in a false return.

Comments

  1. Who vetted this woman in the 1st place

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