PPP

Coppell man charged with scamming $17 million in PPP money to buy luxury cars and homes

Federal investigators say a Coppell man fraudulently applied for dozens of federal stimulus PPP grants and received more than $17 million that he spent buying real estate and luxury cars such as a Bentley and a Corvette.



Government prosecutors have now charged dozens of people with fraudulently receiving grants from the Payroll Protection Program.


© Brian Elledge/Staff Photographer/The Dallas Morning News/TNS
Government prosecutors have now charged dozens of people with fraudulently receiving grants from the Payroll Protection Program.

A coalition of federal agencies charged Dinesh Sah, 55, of Coppell, with applying for $24.8 million in PPP loans for 15 businesses that claimed to have more than 500 employees, but in fact, many of the businesses were registered after the CARES Act was passed and did not have any employees, according to court documents detailing the indictment.

“Mr. Sah exploited this terrible pandemic for personal gain – and he should be held accountable to the American people for that behavior,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox in a statement. “COVID-19 has devastated the finances of hardworking business owners across the nation. PPP funds should be reserved for those who really need them to keep their companies afloat.”

Sah was arrested Sept. 16 and remains in custody, said a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas.

Sah is one of dozens indicted by government prosecutors for fraudulently applying for forgivable loans through the Payroll Protection Program, the $650 billion slice of the CARES Act designed to help small businesses cover costs for wages, rent and utilities. Among those charged with fraud were a former NFL football player and a former reality television star.

More than 5.2 million loans were approved nationwide. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, Texas businesses were approved for more than $41 billion in grants that were intended to go to businesses with 500 employees or fewer.

The indictment said

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Defense contractor charged for allegedly stealing more than $12.8M in PPP funds

A defense contractor in Hawaii has been charged with bank fraud and money laundering for stealing more than $12.8 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money. 

Martin Kao, CEO of Martin Defense Group LLC, previously known as Navatek LLC, is being arrested on two counts of bank fraud and five counts of money laundering. He is accused of at least two fraudulent PPP loan applications.

Out of the $12.8 million he received, Kao transferred more than $2 million into his own personal accounts, a criminal complaint said.

“According to the charges, Kao falsely inflated the number of employees on the loan application and falsely certified that the applicant and its affiliates would not receive, and had not received, another PPP loan,” the U.S. attorney’s office in Hawaii said in a statement.

The PPP is a program established by Congress in March that provides forgivable loans to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Kao is one of dozens of people who have been charged with fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars from the PPP through the program.

Democrats on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis said last week that more than $3 billion in loans issued through the coronavirus emergency relief program for small businesses may have gone to firms that already received support or should have been excluded from the program.

Lawmakers are continuing to negotiate another coronavirus stimulus bill, which will likely at least partially replenish the PPP.

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Hawaii defense contractor accused of $12.8M in fraud coronavirus PPP loans

A Hawaii defense contractor has been charged with bank fraud and money laundering for stealing more than $12.8 million in Paycheck Protection Program money meant to assist businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, federal authorities alleged Wednesday.

Martin Kao, CEO of Martin Defense Group LLC, formerly known as Navatek LLC, transferred more than $2 million into his own personal accounts, a criminal complaint said.

Kao also submitted at least two fraudulent loan applications, authorities said.

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“According to the charges, Kao falsely inflated the number of employees on the loan application and falsely certified that the applicant and its affiliates would not receive, and had not received, another PPP loan,” the U.S. attorney’s office in Hawaii said in a statement.

Congress authorized the Paycheck Protection Program, known as PPP, in March to provide emergency financial assistance to those suffering economic effects of the pandemic through forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and other expenses.

Investigators talked to an executive and a former employee who said the company wasn’t affected by the pandemic, according to the criminal complaint.

The executive learned details about Kao’s loan application in July when he read a news article about Navatek being one of the largest PPP recipients in Hawaii. The company hired employees and opened branch offices during the pandemic, the executive told investigators.

Authorities describe Navatek as a “research, engineering, design, and innovations company that specializes in novel systems for the Department of Defense and other partners in academia and other scientific fields.”

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Kao’s first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

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