Atlanta Lawyer and Former Police Officer Found Guilty of $7 Million Covid Relief Fraud

Shelitha Robertson, an Atlanta lawyer and business owner who was also formerly employed as a police officer and attorney by the city, was found guilty on Tuesday of defrauding the federal government of more than $7 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds. 

Robertson, accused of using the funds for personal luxury purchases such as a Rolls-Royce car, a motorcycle, and a 10-carat diamond ring, had denied exaggerating the number of employees in her businesses to secure millions in federal aid designed to support small businesses during the pandemic.

The prosecution alleged that Robertson, alongside her then-friend and personal attorney, Chandra Norton, engaged in a scheme to maximize PPP loans, ultimately receiving nearly $8 million. A jury of seven men and five women deliberated for about 13 hours over two days before delivering a verdict, finding Robertson guilty on three counts of wire fraud, along with single counts of money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Despite Robertson’s denial and attributing the fraudulent PPP loan applications to Norton, who had pleaded guilty in a separate case, the jury determined her guilt. Following the verdict, Robertson, who had been on bond since pleading not guilty in December 2022, was immediately taken into custody. Her sentencing is scheduled for April 11.

Federal prosecutor Ariel Glasner highlighted additional concerning behavior, stating that Robertson had threatened to kill Norton upon arrest and had separately threatened another person who subsequently filed a police report. Robertson’s lead attorney, Craig A. Gillen, argued that her remarks were expressions of frustration and not legitimate threats, emphasizing her lack of history of violence.

Gillen indicated that aspects of the trial, including the presentation of what he deemed hearsay evidence, would be raised on appeal. Meanwhile, prosecutors contended that Robertson and Norton were partners in crime, receiving substantial PPP loans through fraudulent means. 

Norton, described as an “evil genius” and skilled in document falsification, had cooperated with the government against Robertson. She was indicted in August 2020 and disbarred after pleading guilty, she is set to be sentenced in January. 

Information for this story was found via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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