ST. LOUIS – A federal judge has sentenced two St. Louis-area siblings over pandemic fraud charges, which stemmed from the couple misusing PPP loans to open a wing restaurant.

Irvin Coats, 44, of Florissant, and Pamela Hubbard, 46, of St. Louis, were each sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. They were also to pay back around half a million dollars in pandemic loans they illegally obtained.

Coats and Hubbard both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud earlier this year.

According to their plea agreements, Coats and Hubbard applied for and received Paycheck Protection Program loans that were intended to help struggling small businesses and save jobs. Rather than using the money for intended purposes, the two used it to open a “Wing Strip” restaurant in Florissant.

“While all those people were struggling, the defendant and his co-defendant found an opportunity,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Bateman during a sentencing hearing on Thursday. He also claimed that the money given to Coats and Hubbard meant some funds were not available to others in needed.

Per their plea agreements, Coats applied for a $53,000 loan in the name of a defunct security company in May 2020. He stated would use the loan to help pay 12 people, and he also submitted a false IRS tax form W-3 to support his application. He successfully obtained the loan.

Coats applied for another loan in March 2021 and ended up with another $24,000.

Between those applications, Hubbard requested a loan to support a cleaning service. She falsely inflated the number of employees, submitting fraudulent financial reports, IRS forms and an altered check in support of her loan. She ended up with around $371,000.

Hubbard and Coats used these funds to construct the Wing Strip, plus for improvements on their mother’s condominium in Florissant. That condo has been sold and the $82,351 in proceeds, and it will go towards repaying the PPP loans.

The FBI helped with investigating this case.