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Law360 (Jun 15, 2021, 6:41 pm EDT) – A UCLA-educated Chinese citizen pleaded guilty in federal court in New York on Tuesday to lied about his citizenship and founded bogus “patriotic American” companies to fraudulently Receive $ 20 million in federal corona aid loans.
Muge Ma, also known as “Hummer Mars”, recorded bank fraud and aggravated identity theft charges at a personal hearing in Manhattan, a prosecutor has confirmed.
“Small businesses face uncertainty and unprecedented challenges, the slightest of which should be opportunists trying to loot the federal funds intended to help them,” Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement. “Now Muge Ma is waiting to be convicted of his admitted criminal outrage.”
Ma, a U.S. resident with a business degree from UCLA, received forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program and low-interest loans through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program by falsely telling the US Small Business Administration and banks that his businesses were Hundreds of employees would have. according to the federal government.
He was arrested in May 2020 and charged on nine counts including gross fraud against the United States, wire transfer fraud, and multiple misrepresentation charges.
From March 2020 to May 15 this year, Ma reportedly asked the SBA and five banks for loans to prop up his New York International Capital LLC and Hurley Human Resources LLC businesses, which he bought from his $ 1.5 million luxury apartment based in Manhattan claiming to employ hundreds of people.
“In truth, Ma appears to be the only employee of both companies, and he had no legitimate claim to the funds he applied for,” Strauss said on Tuesday.
Banks provide PPP loans backed by the SBA based on the number of workers a company pays. Ma presented fake tax, insurance, payroll and auditing records to banks to support the fiction that he ran two “global” companies with dozens of workers, the government said.
Ma allegedly claimed one company was a “patriotic American” manufacturer of COVID-19 test kits and the other was helping “unemployed American workers” thrive in the pandemic economy. Prosecutors say he also lied about his citizenship status and used someone else’s identity in the service of the system.
He managed to obtain approvals for loans and advances totaling $ 660,000 through the EIDL program and $ 800,000 from the PPP before investigators became aware of the ruse and froze the funds, the government said.
US District Judge Richard Berman has Ma repeatedly classified as a flight risk. The 37-year-old businessman has been in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan since his arrest.
Ma announced that he has begun pleading talks in September 2020. His sentencing is slated for September 22, 2021, officials said.
His lawyer declined to comment.
Ma is represented by Peter Neil Katz of Law Offices of Peter Katz LLC.
The government is represented by Sagar Kananur Ravi of the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The case is USA v Ma, Case Number 1: 20-cr-00407, in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
–Additional reporting from Pete Brush. Editing by Amy Rowe.
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