Six men from Texas and one man from Illinois are charged with submitting more than 80 fake loan applications for the federal Paycheck Protection Program, netting the group $16 million, federal prosecutors said. The group is accused of using some of the money to buy luxury sports cars like a Lamborghini and a Porsche.
The following men are now facing charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud:
- Amil Aqeel, 52, Houston
- Pardeep Basra, 51, Houston
- Rifat Bajwa, 51, Richmond, Texas
- Mayer Misak, 40, Cypress, Texas
- Mauricio Navia, 41, Katy, Texas
- Richard Reuth, 57, Spring Texas
- Siddiq Azeemuddin, 41, Naperville, Illinois
Aqeel and Azeemuddin also face money laundering charges.
Federal officials said the men lied about the number of employees they had and the average monthly payroll expenses, KPRC reported. They also used either falsified bank records or fake federal tax forms.
The group is accused of writing checks to employees who did not exist and keeping the money for themselves or giving it to family members, KTRK reported.
They used real businesses they operated or filed the PPP applications on the behalf of other companies in exchange for kickbacks, KPRC reported.
The fake applications were submitted to both banks and the federal program, KTRK reported.
The PPP allowed small businesses and other groups to get loans with a maturity of two years and a 1% interest rate to cover payroll, mortgages, rent and utilities. In some cases, the loan would be forgiven if the money was used in a specific period of time and at a certain percentage, according to the Department of Justice news release that detailed the indictment.
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