Podcaster Who Lectures Viewers on Integrity Convicted For Fraud 

New Africa / shutterstock.com
New Africa / shutterstock.com

Life advice podcaster and former Atlanta assistant city attorney Shelitha Robertson has been convicted of defrauding the American government of an estimated $15 million in COVID relief funds. Robertson used the money to purchase big-ticket luxury items like a Rolls Royce, an enormous diamond ring, and a motorcycle. 

Robertson and her daughter, Brii Renee,were the stars of Mommy and Me, a podcast that offered “life advice” on honest ways to earn money. Remarkably, government fraud was never listed as an option on the show. 

Robertson’s convictions followed a Department of Justice investigation into the podcaster’s COVID relief applications, requesting money for employees she didn’t have working for companies she never ran.  

She submitted numerous applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), claiming she had more than 400 employees and required millions of dollars in COVID funding to support them.  

Robertson and co-conspirator Chandra Norton took the fraudulent activity to the next level, creating falsified tax documents to back up their story. Robertson and Norton took the bounty and transferred it to family members. 

Now, Robertson faces just over seven years in prison on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Her daughter must continue the podcast alone. 

Mommy and Me encourages viewers to “chase their dreams” because the “money will come.” In the fall of 2023, Robertson famously claimed that she would choose “integrity over poverty” if given a chance at a get-rich-quick scheme. Even though she knew she was under investigation by the DOJ, she said then that she would reject any action compromising her values and emphasized that she would never degrade herself for money. 

It was a statement she doubled down on a few weeks before her conviction. “How my kids view me and respect me, means more to me than earning a quick dollar,” she preached, adding that she didn’t choose to “sell her soul” for the love of “a dolla.” 

But a quick $15 million? That seems to be a different story. 

In another revelation, Robertson appears to have used her ill-gotten gains to donate a grand to the primary election campaign of none other than Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis. 

These cases are symbolic of a much larger issue – Black women in power seem to be disproportionately called out for immoral behavior and blatant incompetence. 

In Baltimore, former state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby aimed to gain national attention through her handling of the Freddie Gray case. However, her flawed and politically driven prosecution of local police backfired, signaling that Baltimore was soft on crime and contributing to a surge in violence. Mosby used the COVID-19 pandemic to relax crime enforcement further, escalating the city’s challenges. 

But she wasn’t done yet. Mosby also used the pandemic as an excuse to falsely claim a temporary COVID financial hardship to make an early withdrawal from her retirement account, which she used to buy a condo in Florida. She was also found guilty of providing false information on a mortgage application regarding the source of some funds to obtain a lower interest rate. She faces 20 months in prison for fraud. 

In December 2009, a jury convicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon of embezzlement for misusing gift cards donated to City Hall for charity. Instead of helping the poor, Dixon spent approximately $500 at Target and Best Buy on items for her family and staff. 

Former Mayor Catherine Pugh faced legal woes after she double-sold her self-published “Healthy Holly” children’s books, diverting funds into her personal accounts and campaign coffers. Federal authorities accused her of failing to deliver the books to institutions they were purchased for, including Baltimore City Public Schools. She was sentenced to three years in jail. 

More recently, Douglas County Probate Judge Christina Peterson was removed from the bench following allegations of incompetence and abuse of power. She faced 30 misconduct allegations, ultimately leading to her removal from the bench. It was even more shocking because she was the first Black female judge in Douglas County, Georgia, to take the bench. 

As DEI places more Black women in positions of power, they must understand that they will be more heavily scrutinized than others in their roles. Fairly or unfairly, DEI has created an atmosphere of proving one’s value after assuming a position rather than proving one’s merits before receiving it.