A man from Coppell, Texas, was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for running a fraudulent program during the pandemic to obtain approximately $ 24.8 million in forgivable loans from the paycheck protection program, the Justice Department said with.
Dinesh Sah, 55, pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering in March, the Justice Department said in a press release on Wednesday. Officials said Sah sent 15 fraudulent requests to eight different lenders, filed under the names of fake companies he alleged when COVID-19 spread.
Sah claimed he had many employees and hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages, the Justice Department said. However, he had no employees, nor did he pay the wages required in the applications for the paycheck protection program.
“Today’s ruling serves as a clear reminder that those who use COVID relief programs to enrich themselves will be held accountable under the law,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Justice Department and its law enforcement partners remain determined to aggressively prosecute and bring to justice those who steal federal funds to help legitimate small businesses.”
Sah sent fraudulent tax returns, bank statements and information about representatives of the specified companies, prosecutors said.
“Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program to help companies in trouble stay afloat, not to fund the luxury lifestyles of fake entrepreneurs,” said acting US Attorney Prerak Shah of the Northern District of Texas in the press release. “Even as COVID-19 ravaged businesses across the country, Mr. Sah saved millions of dollars from the relief fund that could have helped them. He took advantage of the pandemic for his personal gain and we are proud to hold him accountable. “
Sah received over $ 17 million in Paycheck Protection Program loan funds and used it to buy several Texas homes, pay off California residential mortgages, and buy luxury cars, including a Bentley convertible, Corvette Stingray, and Porsche Macan.
Sah also sent millions of dollars in international money transfers, prosecutors said.
As part of the admission of guilt, Sah agreed to forfeit eight homes, six luxury vehicles and more than $ 9 million in fraudulent revenue. He has to pay $ 17.3 million in compensation on top of his prison sentence, the Justice Department said.
Several cases of fraudulent activity have surfaced since Congress passed the COVID-19 relief packages.
A Florida man was sentenced to more than six years federal prison in May after buying a Lamborghini using fraudulent auxiliary checks. A couple pleaded guilty in March of fraudulently filing credit applications for the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans totaling more than $ 1.1 million.
The Justice Department in November indicted seven people of participating in a program that fraudulently provided them with $ 16 million in forgivable loans.
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