ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman said on Thursday, that Debra Hackstadt, 67, of Albany pleaded guilty to COVID-19 relief fraud. Hackstadt admitted to fraudulently obtaining 32 pandemic relief loans of over $1.6 Million.

Hackstadt obtained 32 government-backed loans meant for businesses struggling with the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Hackstadt admits she obtained a total of $1,615,546 between April 30, 2020, and June 11, 2021, from two pandemic relief loan programs backed by the federal government through various programs.

Officials said Hackstadt lied on loan applications to the Small Business Administration and its various lenders. Hackstadt made up and grossly overstated the employees and payrolls of the companies and sole proprietorships for which she obtained loans.

Many of the applications also included false tax documents that Hackstadt created as part of the scheme. In total, Hackstadt’s scheme resulted in the issuance of 27 Paycheck Protection Program loans, and five Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

These loans were issued to Hackstadt herself, certain members of her family, acquaintances, and several companies controlled by Hackstadt and family members. Subsequently, Hackstadt also admitted that in addition to these loans, she fraudulently obtained two other business loans from private lenders. 

Hackstadt obtained a $42,290 loan in October – November 2019, and a $48,500 loan in June 2021, for which she quickly defaulted. Hackstadt could face up to 20 years in prison when sentenced on Oct 6. Additionally, Hackstadt has agreed to pay restitution and a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $254,812, which she personally obtained from the fraud.