BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Five people accused of defrauding a small business relief program were indicted on felony charges, the Louisiana Treasury reports on Monday.

Officials said a grand jury in East Baton Rouge Parish formally charged Terez Bradley, 38, of St. Tammany Parish; Altea Scott, 45, of Jefferson Parish; Viola Combs, 59, of East Baton Rouge Parish; Geona Garrett, 37, of Tangipahoa Parish and Gelis Garrett, 34, of St. Tammany Parish. All are accused of defrauding the Main Street Recovery Program.

“This was supposed to be a program to help small businesses, not line people’s pockets.
I have zero tolerance for fraud. It is shameful that government lets people get away
with it,” State Treasurer John Schroder said.

A total of over $1 million was recovered, according to the Louisiana Treasury, with $466,000 retrieved and $580,000 resolved.

The program gave millions of dollars to small businesses that lost money during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding for the relief program came from the CARES Act.