Several Indian Americans were among 14 people charged in a $53 million fraud scheme centered around the COVID-19 relief program in Texas, NDTV reports.
According to a press release from US Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton, it is the largest case under investigation by the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) Fraud Task Force.
The defendants conspired to steal tens of millions of dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was designed to provide small businesses with loans to stay afloat during the pandemic. According to The Federal, the defendants submitted 29 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications that misrepresented business income and inflated payroll expenses.
Authorities arrested the accused on July 4 and 5: The Federal reports.
According to NDTV, those arrested include the Chief Financial Officer of Sunshine Recycling and owner of Mammoth Group, R.A. Industries and L.K. Industries Mihir Patel; Controller at Sunshine Recycling Kinjal Patel; owner of West Texas Scrap Prateek Desai; President and owner of Gulf Coast Scrap Wajahat Khan; Operations Director and owner of 4G Metals and West Texas Equipment Imran Khan.
Defendants face up to 30 years in prison if guilty.
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