Florida man charged with $1.6 million Cares Act loan fraud scheme | USAO-NJ
NEWARK, NJ – A Florida man will appear in court today on charges related to his role in a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $1.6 million in Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans ) and in Economic Disaster Loan (EIDL) payments, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Mohamed A. Awad, 60, of Ocala, Florida, is charged on complaint with two counts of wire fraud. He was arrested on July 21, 2022 in Virginia and made his first appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge William E. Fitzpatrick in the Eastern District of Virginia. He was held pending transfer to the District of New Jersey.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering from the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. . One of the sources of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in small business forgivable loans for job retention and certain other expenses, through the PPP. . The PPP allowed small businesses and other eligible organizations to receive loans with a term of two years and an interest rate of 1%. PPP loan proceeds are to be used by businesses for payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent and utilities.
The CARES Act also authorized the US Small Business Association to provide EIDLs of up to $2 million, through the Economic Disaster Loan Program, to eligible small businesses experiencing significant financial disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19.
Awad engaged in a scheme to illegally obtain over $1.6 million in PPP and EIDL loans through numerous misrepresentations to lenders. He submitted fraudulent loan applications that fabricated employee numbers and misrepresented company information, to trick PPP and EIDL lenders into approving loan applications they would not otherwise have approved. Awad submitted falsified tax documents in support of PPP claims. According to IRS records, none of the alleged tax documents submitted by Awad were ever filed with the IRS. Awad transferred the proceeds of the loan between various bank accounts he controlled, withdrawing large sums of cash and transferring at least about $760,000 out of the country by wire transfer to banks based in Egypt.
The charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or double the defendant’s gross gain or the victim’s gross loss, whichever is greater.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agents, under Acting Special Agent in Charge Tammy Tomlins; postal inspectors from the US Postal Inspection Service in Newark, under Inspector in Charge Damon Wood, Philadelphia Division; FBI Special Agents, under Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; Special Agents of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, under Special Agent in Charge Sharon MacDermott; Special Agents of the Office of Inspector General of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, under Stephen Donnelly, Eastern Region; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Special Agents – Office of Inspector General, under Special Agent in Charge Patricia Tarasca in New York; and special agents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas Mahoney, the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine M. Romano of the Health Care Fraud Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Disaster Fraud Center hotline at 866-720 -5721 or through the NCDF’s online complaint form at: https://www.justice. gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are charges only, and the Defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.