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Indian National Charged in $8 Million COVID-19 Relief Fraud Scheme

(South Asian Insider Bureau) A federal grand jury in Newark, New Jersey, returned an indictment today charging an Indian national for fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
According to court documents, Abhishek Krishnan, 40, previously resided in Wake County, North Carolina, before returning to his home country of India. After returning to India, Krishnan allegedly submitted numerous fraudulent PPP loan applications to federally insured banks, including on behalf of purported companies that were not registered business entities. The fraudulent PPP loan applications allegedly included false statements about the companies’ employees and payroll expenses, as well as falsified tax filings. As part of the fraud scheme, Krishnan allegedly used the name of another person without that person’s authority. Krishnan allegedly submitted at least 17 PPP loan applications seeking over $8.2 million and received more than $3.3 million in loan proceeds. Following receipt of the funds, Krishnan allegedly laundered the proceeds of the fraud.
Krishnan is charged with two counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. If convicted, Krishnan faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the top counts and a mandatory minimum of two years in prison on each count of aggravated identity theft. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger for the District of New Jersey; Special Agent in Charge Mark Morini of the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), Southeast Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Kyle A. Myles of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), Atlanta Region; U.S. Marshal Michael East for the Eastern District of North Carolina; and Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG), Eastern Region made the announcement.