Federal authorities arrested a Southern California man on Friday, alleging that he fraudulently received millions of dollars from coronavirus relief funds to purchase luxury cars, take expensive vacations, and finance personal expenses.
According to a federal indictment, Mustafa Qadiri, a 38-year-old resident of Irvine, California, about 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles, received $5 million in Payment Protection Program funds after claiming to own four companies in neighboring Newport Beach, none of which are actually in operation.
According to the US Attorney’s Office of California, Qadiri filed charges for All American Lending, Inc., All American Capital Holdings, Inc., RadMediaLab, Inc., and Ad Blot, Inc. in May and June 2020 using fictitious bank accounts, fraudulent federal tax return forms, and someone else’s identity.
The money he got was then spent on holidays, personal expenses, and Ferrari, Bentley, and Lamborghini sports cars, according to the indictment.
As Qadiri surrendered himself to authorities on Friday morning, federal agents confiscated all of his vehicles and $2 million from his bank account.
Six charges of money laundering, four counts of bank fraud and wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft have been filed against him.
The PPP is part of the CARES Act, which Congress passed in March 2020. It provided low-interest loans of up to $10 million to companies with 500 or fewer employees, which also turned into grants, to cover pandemic-related costs.
As of March 21, the US Small Business Administration reported that over 8.2 million loans totaling $718 billion had been approved.
However, there have been cases of people applying for funds fraudulently only to be apprehended by federal authorities.
According to the Los Angeles Times, California authorities have said that at least $11 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims have been filed.
Qadiri is being held in custody on a $100,000 bail. The date of his trial has been set for June 29.
Federal agents have seized three luxury sports cars allegedly purchased by Mustafa Qadiri, 38, of Irvine, with fraudulently obtained COVID-19 Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans. pic.twitter.com/MIdkjFeZx2
— US Attorney L.A. (@USAO_LosAngeles) May 7, 2021
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