DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A judge sentenced a Coppell businessman Wednesday, July 28, to more than 11 years in prison for wire-fraud and money-laundering in connection with his scheme to obtain approximately $24.8 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
Dinesh Sah, 55, of Coppell, pleaded guilty on March 24.
U.S. District Judge Karen Gren Scholer, sentenced Sah and also ordered him to pay $17,284,649.79 in restitution.
According to court documents, Sah 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.
He 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 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.
“Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program to help struggling businesses stay afloat, not to fund faux entrepreneurs’ luxury lifestyles,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah. “Even as COVID-19 devastated companies around the nation, Mr. Sah sapped millions of dollars from the relief fund that could have helped them. He exploited the pandemic for personal gain, and we are proud to hold him accountable.”
“Today’s sentence serves as a clear reminder that individuals who exploit COVID-relief programs to enrich themselves will be held accountable under the law,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. “The Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners remain committed to aggressively pursuing and bringing to justice those who steal federal funds intended to help legitimate small businesses.”
Based upon his false statements and fabricated documents, Sah 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 agreed to forfeit, among other property, eight homes, six luxury vehicles, and more than $9 million in fraudulent proceeds that the government has seized to date.
“This sentencing serves as a deterrent to all who would attempt to commit fraud against any of the COVID-19 relief programs,” said Special Agent in Charge Christopher J. Altemus Jr. of the IRS – Criminal Investigation Dallas Field Office. “These programs are here to help during a pandemic, not for fraudsters like Sah to take advantage of for their own personal gain.”