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Man charged with defrauding COVID relief program

Image via Wikimedia Creative Commons by Sionk

The US Department of Justice has charged a Texas man of defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program of $17 million.

CBS Dallas reports Dinesh Sah, 55, is accused of  three counts of wire fraud, three counts of bank fraud and one count of money laundering.

Authorities said he took the money intended for employees and spent it on himself.

“Mr. Sah exploited this terrible pandemic for personal gain – and he should be held accountable to the American people for that behavior,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. “COVID-19 has devastated the finances of hardworking business owners across the nation. PPP funds should be reserved for those who really need them to keep their companies afloat.”

According to the Business Journal, prosecutors allege Sah applied fraudulently for 15 loans and claimed these businesses had hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll.

An indictment says Sah used the money to purchase 2020 Bentley convertible and sent millions of dollars in international transfers. So far investigators say they’ve recovered $6.5 million out of the $17 million he received.

Indica News says prosecutors believe one of the businesses Sah sought money for didn’t incorporate until May.

“The registered business address for Relief Without Borders LLC was Sah’s residence in Coppell, Texas,” the indictment states. “Sah was listed as the company’s registered agent and managing member.”

He’s also accused of falsifying tax returns and forging bank statements.

“Today’s indictment shows Mr. Sah’s disgraceful display of greed,” stated Tamera Cantu, a special agent for the IRS to Indica News . “Mr. Sah looked at the Paycheck Protection Program as his own personal piggy bank, treating himself to not only millions in cash, but several luxury vehicles and properties, all while legitimate small business owners in the United States desperately sought out ways to put food on their tables and to ensure their employees were paid.”

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