In an extensive investigation into a multi-million-dollar COVID-19 relief fraud scheme, US authorities have charged four additional Texas residents – Hamza Abbas, Khalid Abbas, Abdul Fatani, and Syed Ali – for fraudulently obtaining and laundering millions through the US government’s COVID-19 relief program called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Notably, authorities have now charged 15 individuals, most of them from Texas, in this case.
The four new defendants conspired with others to submit over 80 false and fraudulent PPP loan applications. In these applications, they misrepresented the number of employees and the average monthly payroll expenses of the companies on behalf of which they applied. They sought over $35 million in PPP loan funds, ultimately receiving nearly $18 million. Thereafter, the defendants laundered part of the illicit proceeds by writing checks to fake employees. Later, they cashed over 1,100 such fake paychecks of more than $3 million at a check-cashing company.
Six other Texas residents and one Illinois resident were previously indicted for their involvement in the fraud scheme. Four other Texas residents have also previously pleaded guilty for their involvement in the scheme. Meanwhile, the four new defendants share amongst themselves the charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.
Source: US Department of Justice