Texas Convicted of $ 24 Million COVID-19 Aid Fraud | OPA

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A Texas man was sentenced today to more than 11 years in prison for electronic communications fraud and money laundering in connection with his fraudulent scheme to obtain an estimated $ 24.8 million in bad loans under the Payroll Protection Program (PPP).

Dinesh Sah, 55 years old, from Coppell, pleaded guilty on March 24, 2021… According to court documents, Sah filed 15 bogus applications on behalf of various alleged businesses he owned or controlled to eight different lenders, seeking approximately $ 24.8 million in PPP loans. Sach argued that these businesses had many employees and hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll costs, even though none of the businesses actually had employees or paid wages that matched the amounts shown in PPP applications. Sah also provided bogus documentation to support his claims, including fabricated federal tax returns and bank statements for alleged businesses, and falsely identified others as authorized representatives of some of those businesses without the right to use their identifying information in applications.

“Today’s verdict serves as a clear reminder that individuals who use COVID assistance programs to enrich themselves will be held accountable under the law,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polit, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners remain committed to vigorously prosecuting and prosecuting those who steal federal funds intended to help legitimate small businesses.”

“Congress has adopted a Payroll Protection Program to help troubled businesses stay afloat, rather than fund the luxurious lifestyle of fictitious entrepreneurs,” said Acting US Attorney Prerack Shah for the Northern District of Texas. “Even as COVID-19 devastated companies across the country, Mr. Sa took millions of dollars from an aid fund that could help them. He used the pandemic for personal gain and we are proud to hold him accountable. “

“This verdict serves as a deterrent to anyone attempting to commit fraud against any of the COVID-19 assistance programs,” said Special Agent Christopher J. Altemus Jr. of the IRS’s Dallas Field Criminal Investigations Office. “These programs are designed to help during a pandemic, not so that scammers like Sah can take advantage of them.”

“The Inspector General of the Treasury Revenue Service aggressively pursues those who try to defraud the programs provided to the American people under the CARES Act,” said J. Russell George, Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). “We appreciate the efforts of the Ministry of Justice and our law enforcement partners.”

Based on his false statements and fabricated documents, Sah received more than $ 17 million in PPP loans and channeled the proceeds to his own personal gain, using them to buy multiple Texas homes, pay off mortgages on other California homes and buy a car fleet. luxury cars including the Bentley convertible, Corvette Stingray and Porsche Macan. Sah has also sent millions of dollars in PPP revenue in the form of international remittances. As part of his plea, Sah agreed to confiscate, among other things, eight homes, six luxury cars and more than $ 9 million in fraudulent proceeds that the government has confiscated to date.

In addition to being sentenced to prison, Sah was ordered to pay $ 17,284,649.79 in compensation.

The case was investigated by the FDIC-OIG field offices in Dallas, the IRS-Criminal Investigation and the inspector general of the US Internal Revenue Service.

Assistant Deputy Chief of the Anti-Fraud Division Anna G. Kaminska and Division Chief Catherine Miller of the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Texas filed a case. Assistant US Attorneys Erica Hilliard and Dimitri Rocha handled the asset forfeiture component of the case.

The Coronavirus Relief, Assistance and Economic Security Act (CARES) is a federal law passed on March 29, 2020 designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering from the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the permission to pay forgiveness of loans to small businesses of up to $ 349 billion to save jobs and certain other expenses through PPPs. In April 2020, Congress authorized more than $ 300 billion in additional PPP funding.

PPP allows qualified small businesses and other organizations to obtain loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1%. Proceeds from PPP loans are to be used by businesses to cover wages, mortgage interest, rents and utilities. A PPP allows you to write off interest and principal on a PPP loan if the business spends the loan on these expense items within a specified period of time after receiving the proceeds and uses at least a specified percentage of the proceeds from the PPP loan to payroll expenses. …

The Fraud Section leads the Department of Justice’s prosecution of fraud schemes using the CARES Act. In the months since the adoption of the CARES Act, attorneys for the Anti-Fraud Section have prosecuted more than 100 defendants in more than 70 criminal cases. The Anti-Fraud Section also seized more than $ 65 million in fraudulent PPP proceeds, as well as numerous real estate and luxury items acquired with such proceeds. More information can be found at: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/cares-act-fraud

Anyone with general information about allegations of attempted COVID-19 fraud can report it by calling the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Disaster Fraud Center at 866-720-5721 or filling out the web NCDF complaint form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form

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