A 48-year-old Yakima resident, Karla Padilla has been indicted this week on seven counts of fraudulently obtaining $59,000 in COVID-19 relief funding. Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington made that announcement on Tuesday. The Indictment is the most recent set of charges resulting from the COVID-19 Relief Fraud Strike Force launched by the U.S. Attorney’s Office earlier this year.

Federal officials have charged Padilla with seven counts of fraud

According to a news release the Indictment announced Tuesday charges "seven counts of fraud arising from loans obtained by Padilla in 2020 and 2021 on behalf of her supposed collectible car business identified as Queen B Collectibles.The Indictment alleges that Queen B Collectibles was not a legitimate business, had no employees, receipts or business operations, and was not eligible for any funding, and that Padilla submitted false information in order to fraudulently obtain over $59,000 in COVID-19 relief funding.  The Indictment also alleges that Padilla unsuccessfully and fraudulently attempted to obtain four other forms of help." Padilla was in federal court on Monday where she pleaded not guilty. Trial is set for July 25.

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This case was investigated by the Eastern District of Washington COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force. The news release says the case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tyler H.L. Tornabene, Assistant United States Attorney Dan Fruchter, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Frieda K. Zimmerman. Federal officials say
"an indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law."

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Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

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