Woman in COVID-19 fraud case said her business ‘Thingamabobz’ grossed $1.2 million

In the months after the COVID-19 pandemic began, Kasey Marie Hamer started applying for loans intended for businesses that were losing money.

Hamer’s first application, in April 2020, was for a business called “Thingamabobz,” according to court documents. Hamer said it was an automotive repair shop, and she had one employee. She claimed her gross revenue in the previous 12 months was $890,000, the documents say.

The primary business address listed was a two-story apartment building in East Price Hill. Although Hamer received a $1,000 advance, the loan was later declined.

A week later, Hamer applied for another loan for “Thingamabobz,” court documents say. This time, she claimed to have 14 employees and said it was a “wholesale import/export” business, the documents say.

The gross revenue she listed for the previous 12 months: $1.2 million, according to the documents. The primary business address listed was a small house in Columbia Tusculum.

That loan also was declined.

Hamer tried again in May 2020, using a different name and address for a “wholesale import/export” business she claimed had 14 employees, the documents say. That didn’t work.

Finally, that same month, Hamer applied for a different kind of loan, under the Paycheck Protection Program, which was designed so businesses could keep their employees during the pandemic. The loans are typically forgiven. She said she had a marketing business with one employee, court documents say. The application was approved and she received $23,000.

This week, Hamer, 36, of Batavia, agreed to plead guilty in federal court in Cincinnati to two counts of making false statements on loan applications.

Her husband, 42-year-old Raymond Cook of Batavia, also has agreed to plead guilty to the same charge. Court documents say he received nearly $21,000 for an automotive repair business, after trying several times using different numbers of employees and different gross revenues.

“Inconsistencies between loan applications are a common indicator of fraud,” a federal agent wrote in an affidavit.

Hamer and Cook could not be reached for comment. A cellphone number associated with Hamer was no longer working. Her federal public defender did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Others charged

A daughter Hamer had with another man, Hailey Wooten, also faces related charges. Documents say Wooten – using the same Columbia Tusculum address Hamer used for her alleged import/export business – received a loan for more than $40,000.

Wooten’s application, according to court documents, said she had 15 employees for an event planning business that had annual gross revenues of nearly $105,000. In the affidavit, the federal agent said there is no indication she “engaged in (that) form of employment.”

Court documents say Wooten’s father, Billy Wooten, made false statements to secure a Paycheck Protection Program loan for more than $20,000. The documents say that as part of the application process, Wooten used a debit card statement with transactions appearing “to be identical” to the statement Cook submitted.

Billy Wooten told investigators in June 2021 that Hamer helped him file for the loan.

According to court documents, Wooten said he used the loan to “buy an advertisement for the construction jobs he was working, but then started using drugs and instead used the money to buy furniture for his house” as well as other expenses. He has agreed to plead guilty to making false statements on a loan application, court records say.

Attorneys for Billy and Hailey Wooten did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Feds: COVID-19 fraud involved business called ‘Thingamabobz’