DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Coppell businessman pleaded guilty Wednesday, March 24, to orchestrating a fraudulent scheme to obtain approximately $24.8 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans and laundering the proceeds.Crowley ISD Dropping Mask Mandate As COVID-19 Case Numbers In School District Drop
According to court documents, Dinesh Sah, 55, admitted that he submitted 15 fraudulent applications, filed under the names of various purported businesses that he owned or controlled, to eight different lenders seeking approximately $24.8 million in PPP loans.
Sah claimed that these businesses had numerous employees and hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll expenses when, in fact, no business had employees or paid wages consistent with the amounts claimed in the PPP applications.
Sah further admitted that he submitted fraudulent documentation in support of his applications, including fabricated federal tax filings and bank statements for the purported businesses, and falsely listed other persons as the authorized representatives of certain of these businesses without the authority to use their identifying information on the applications.READ MORE: Mavericks Fans Must Bring COVID-19 Vaccine Card Or Proof Of Negative Test To Attend Dallas' Home Opener
“The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to aid struggling business owners, not to line the pockets of crafty profiteers,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah of the Northern District of Texas. “Even as fellow businesspeople tried desperately to procure the funds they needed to keep their business afloat, Sah dipped into federal coffers to fund his lavish lifestyle. The Justice Department is committed to protecting the PPP from fraud and deceit.”
“As the nation was crippled by a global pandemic, Sah fraudulently obtained over $17 million in PPP funds intended to help legitimate small businesses and spent that money on luxury cars and multiple homes,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “As our nation continues to fight this unprecedented virus, the Department of Justice and its law-enforcement partners remain committed to aggressively pursuing individuals who exploit COVID-relief programs and to ensuring that these ill-gotten gains are returned.”
“We will continue to vigorously investigate cases involving attempts to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program and other crimes against the financial institutions the FDIC insures and regulates,” said Special Agent in Charge Anand M. Ramlall of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG). “Sah’s egregious fraud committed to fund his luxurious lifestyle is unacceptable under any circumstances, but especially so when done against a program designed to help Americans recover from the ongoing pandemic. We appreciate the cooperation and coordination of our law enforcement partners on these types of investigations.”
Sah admitted that, based on his false statements and fabricated documents, he received over $17 million in PPP loan funds and diverted the proceeds for his personal benefit, using them to purchase multiple homes in Texas, pay off the mortgages on other homes in California, and buy a fleet of luxury cars, including a Bentley convertible, Corvette Stingray, and Porsche Macan. Sah also sent millions of dollars in PPP proceeds in international money transfers. As part of his guilty plea, Sah will forfeit, among other property, eight homes, numerous luxury vehicles, and more than $7.2 million in fraudulent proceeds that the government seized to date.MORE NEWS: Gas Leak Shuts Down 2 Blocks In Downtown Fort Worth, 1 Building Evacuated
Sah pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering in the Northern District of Texas. He will be sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.