California man charged with COVID fraud | Takeover bid
A federal grand jury in Los Angeles, California, issued an indictment on April 13, accusing a California man of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
According to court documents, Oumar Sissoko, 59, of Temecula, applied for a PPP loan on behalf of his company, Road Doctor California LLC, which requested and received $ 7.25 million. The loan application certified that the funds would be used to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage interest payments, lease payments, and utility payments. Between or around May 1 and May 12, 2020, Sissoko embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars of the PPP loan proceeds to use for unauthorized purposes, including purchasing a luxury car for over 100,000 dollars, the satisfaction of a loan granted to Sissoko. in connection with its earlier acquisition of another luxury car and the purchase of a computer for almost $ 6,000. Sissoko has also attempted to pass around $ 150,000 to accounts in Mauritania associated with another company for which Sissoko claims to serve as CEO.
Sissoko is charged with four counts of wire fraud. The defendant is scheduled to appear at a later date in US District Court for the Central District of California. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice; Acting US Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison of the Central District of California; Deputy Director in Charge Kristi K. Johnson of the FBI Los Angeles Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Weston King of the Office of Inspector General of the US Small Business Administration (SBA-OIG) Western Region; and Special Agent in Charge Wade V. Walters of the San Francisco Regional Office of the Office of the Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC-OIG) made the announcement.
The FBI, SBA-OIG and FDIC-OIG are investigating this case.
Prosecutor John “Fritz” Scanlon of the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division and Assistant US Attorney Alexander CK Wyman of the Central District of California are continuing the case.
The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) law is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $ 349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job maintenance and certain other expenses, through the PPP. In April 2020, Congress authorized more than $ 300 billion in additional P3 funding.
The PPP allows small businesses and other eligible organizations to benefit from loans with a two-year term and an interest rate of 1%. Proceeds from PPP loans are to be used by businesses on salary costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities. The PPP allows for the forgiveness of interest and principal of the PPP loan if the business spends the loan proceeds on these expenditure items within a specified time after receiving the proceeds and uses at least a certain percentage of the proceeds of the PPP loan to wage costs. .
The Fraud Section leads the Department of Justice’s prosecutions of fraud schemes that exploit the CARES Act. In the months following the passage of the CARES law, lawyers in the Fraud Section prosecuted more than 100 defendants in more than 70 criminal cases. The Fraud Section also seized over $ 65 million in cash from fraudulently obtained PPP funds, as well as numerous real estate and luxury items purchased with this product. More information can be found at: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/cares-act-fraud.
Anyone with general information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or through the online complaint form. NCDF at: https: //www.justice. gov / disaster-fraud / ncdf-disaster complaint form.
An indictment is only an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a court.