A Coppell businessman pleaded guilty on Wednesday of running a fraudulent program to obtain approximately $ 24.8 million in loans and launder the proceeds.
According to court records, 55-year-old Dinesh Sah admitted that he had filed 15 fraudulent claims, filed under the names of various alleged companies he owned or controlled, with eight different lenders, the PPP loans worth around 24 . $ 8 million requested.
Sah claimed that these companies had numerous employees and hundreds of thousands of dollars in labor costs, when in fact no company had employees or paid wages that matched the amounts reported on the PPP applications.
Sah also admitted that he had submitted fraudulent documentation in support of his claims, including falsified federal tax returns and bank statements for the alleged companies, and falsely listed others as agents of certain of those companies without the authority to provide their identifying information use the applications.
“The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to help struggling business owners, not to fill the pockets of crafty profiteers,” said incumbent US attorney Prerak Shah of the Northern District of Texas. “Even as other business people were desperate to raise the funds they needed to keep their businesses alive, Sah dived into federal coffers to fund his lavish lifestyle. The Ministry of Justice has set itself the goal of protecting the PPP from fraud and deception. “
“When the nation was crippled by a global pandemic, Sah fraudulently received over $ 17 million in PPP funding to help legitimate small businesses and spent that money on luxury cars and several homes,” said Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Department of Justice Department of Crime at the Department. “As our nation continues to fight this unprecedented virus, the Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners continue to seek to aggressively prosecute those who take advantage of COVID relief programs and ensure that these illicit profits are returned.”
“We will continue to intensively investigate cases of attempts to defraud the paycheck protection program and other crimes against FDIC insured and regulated financial institutions,” said Anand M. Ramlall, Special Agent in charge of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Inspectorate General (FDIC – OIG). “Sah’s outrageous fraud committed to fund his luxurious lifestyle is by no means unacceptable, especially when it is directed against a program designed to help Americans recover from the ongoing pandemic. We appreciate the cooperation and coordination of our law enforcement partners in such investigations. “
Sah admitted that because of his false testimony and fabricated documents, he had received over $ 17 million in PPP loan funds and diverted the proceeds for his personal benefit to buy multiple Texas homes and mortgages on other homes to repay in California. and buy a fleet of luxury cars including a Bentley convertible, Corvette Stingray and a Porsche Macan. Saw also sent millions in PPP proceeds for international money transfers. As part of his admission of guilt, Sah will lose eight houses, numerous luxury vehicles, and more than $ 7.2 million in fraudulent receipts from the government so far, among other things.
Sah pleaded guilty to a number of wire frauds and money laundering in the Northern Texas area. He is sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison.
The Dallas field offices of the FDIC-OIG, the IRS Criminal Investigation, and the US Treasury Inspector for Tax Administration are investigating the case.
The case is being followed by deputy deputy chief Anna G. Kaminska of the criminal fraud division and division chief Katherine Miller of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas. Deputy US lawyers Erica Hilliard and Dimitri Rocha are handling the asset forfeiture component of the case.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law passed March 29, 2020 designed to provide emergency financial aid to millions of Americans suffering from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief from the CARES Act was the PPP’s approval of up to $ 349 billion in unsuccessful small business loans for job retention and certain other expenses. In April 2020, Congress approved over $ 300 billion in additional PPP funding.
The PPP enables qualified small businesses and other organizations to obtain loans with a term of two years and an interest rate of 1%. PPP loan proceeds must be used by businesses for labor costs, mortgage interest, rents and utilities. The PPP allows the interest and principal on the PPP loan to be forgiven if the company spends the loan proceeds on those expense items within a specified period of time after receipt of the proceeds and uses at least a certain percentage of the PPP loan proceeds on wages and salaries.
The Fraud Department directs the Justice Department’s prosecution of fraud programs that exploit the CARES Act. In the months since the CARES law was passed, lawyers for the Fraud Department have prosecuted more than 100 defendants in more than 70 criminal cases. The fraud department has also seized more than $ 65 million in cash receipts from fraudulently obtained PPP funds, as well as numerous real estate and luxury goods purchased with those proceeds. More information can be found at: Justice.gov/criminal-fraud/cares-act-fraud.
Anyone with general information about suspected COVID-19 fraud attempts can call 866-720-5721 or file a complaint at: Justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
Follow Chris Roark on Twitter!