Fraudster Confesses to Trying to Spend $ 20 Million on COVID Relief Loans

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On Tuesday, a Chinese citizen residing in New York pleaded guilty to attempting to strip several banks and the US government of $ 20 million in COVID-19 relief loans.

Scammer by name Muge Ma and Hummer Mars, is accused of one episode of bank fraud and one episode of aggravated identity theft as part of his payment protection program in a federal court in Manhattan, prosecutors said.

He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.

Ma applied for loans, which were intended to help small businesses stranded in a pandemic under the CARES Act, at five banks, federal officials said.

He told lenders that he owns two companies, which he says employs hundreds of people and pays millions of dollars in monthly wages.

In fact, Ma was the only employee of the companies he ran from his luxurious Manhattan apartment building.

The prosecutor’s office said that before investigators uncovered the ruse, the Small Business Administration and one bank had approved a loan to Ma worth more than $ 1 million.

“Small businesses face uncertainty and unprecedented challenges, the least of which must be opportunists trying to plunder federal funds intended to help them,” said US Attorney Audrey Strauss. “Muge Ma is now awaiting sentencing for admitted criminal fraud.”

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