Shocking: 7 More Arrests Made In Covid Relief Funds Fraud
Here we go again! Seven more people are facing charged for Covid-19 relief funds fraud. If ever there were a case to question the accuracy of a 'well-laid-out' planned by the Government, the relief fund fraud cases are it. The 7 are accused of using the money to purchase luxury products, including a Lamborghini and a Porsche, federal authorities said Tuesday.
The suspects, based in Texas and Illinois, were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the Justice Department said.
NBC released the latest arrest details:
Two suspects, Amir Aqeel, 52, and Siddiq Azeemuddin, 41, were also charged with money laundering. Others named in the indictment were Pardeep Basra, 51; Rifat Bajwa, 51; Mayer Misak, 40; Mauricio Navia, 41; and Richard Reuth.
The Justice Department alleged that the group submitted dozens of fraudulent loan applications that included falsified payroll expenses, tax forms, bank records and other documents.
Hundreds of fake paychecks were cashed by fake employees — including Aqueel's 86-year-old mother — at a check-cashing business owned by one of the defendants, the indictment alleges.
They sought $30 million from the Payroll Protection Program, the federal loan program that set aside more than $600 billion to assist small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic this year, according to the indictment.
The documents say they secured about $16 million before federal agents executed 45 warrants, seizing a 2013 Lamborghini, a Porsche and property in an upscale section of Houston.
Justice Department Released a statement:
“These defendants allegedly participated in a scheme to capitalize on the pandemic by filing at least 80 fraudulent PPP applications and enriching themselves by $16 million, spending it on luxury items such as a Porsche and Lamborghini automobiles,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The department and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue those who would seek to illegally exploit the ongoing national emergency for their own benefit.”
“Some fraudsters create the most complicated schemes to steal money from the taxpayer. Just imagine how productive they could be if they put their creativity and effort into noble and useful work,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas. “With the great work of so many partner agencies, we will bring to justice those who steal from the treasury.”
“Greed has no place in SBA’s programs that are intended to provide assistance to the nation’s small businesses struggling with the pandemic challenges,” said Special Agent in Charge Sharon Johnson of the SBA Office of Inspector General (OIG) Central Region. “OIG and its law enforcement partners will relentlessly pursue fraudsters and bring them to justice. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and pursuit of justice.”