A former cast member on the reality TV shows “Basketball Wives LA” and “Marriage Boot Camp” appeared in St. Louis federal court on Wednesday and admitted committing 15 felonies from several fraud schemes.
Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said Brittish “Cierrah” Williams, 33, pleaded guilty to five counts of misuse of a Social Security number, four counts of bank fraud, three counts of making false statements to the IRS, and three counts of wire fraud. Williams was indicted in September 2021.
According to a plea agreement, Williams was under-reporting her income on tax returns from 2017 to 2019 and falsely claimed her niece and nephew as dependents. As a result, she fraudulently avoided paying more than $29,000 in taxes.
Williams used Social Security numbers that were not hers to open accounts with banks and credit card companies, and then failed to pay those institutions back, resulting in more than $28,500 in losses.
She also used those Social Security numbers to open bank accounts and deposited checks from other peoples’ accounts without their consent or knowledge, and then withdrew that money, causing $23,850 in losses to those individuals.
Williams told the court she submitted nine applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, designed to help struggling businesses, four applications for the Paycheck Protection Program, created to save jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, and one application for rent relief in California.
She used $144,000 in loans from two of those applications to fund her lifestyle, and also received more than $52,000 in PPP loans.
On Jan. 3, 2022, Williams applied for money with the California COVID-19 Rent Relief program. She claimed she was a resident of the state with a total income of $50,000 and that she couldn’t pay her rent due to her work hours being cut because of the pandemic. She had stopped paying rent in July 2021 and received nearly $28,000 in funds from the state program.
However, the plea agreement states Williams’ $3,800 rent was reimbursed by the network producing “Basketball Wives LA.” Her work hours and pay were unaffected by the pandemic.
Prosecutors said Williams and co-conspirators received nearly $140,000 from at least one insurance company after she filed fake medical bills.
Williams also has filed her annual tax returns since her indictment in October 2021. She listed herself as “exempt” on paperwork with her current employer, meaning there were no taxes withheld from her $90,000 annual salary.
The total known losses—actual and intended—from Williams’ fraud schemes is $446,082.
Federal prosecutors said they intend to have Williams repay all of the the money she received from her schemes.
Williams will be sentenced on Aug. 23. She faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of Social Security fraud and making false statements. The bank fraud charges carry sentences of up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The wire fraud charges carry a penalty up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.