California Man Sentenced to 11 Years for $27 Million PPP Loan Fraud

Anderson Hacken

The U.S. Department of Justice claimed in a assertion a  Southern California man has been sentenced to 11 many years and 3 months in jail more than Paycheck Defense Application (PPP) financial loan fraud.



California Guy Sentenced for PPP Loan Fraud Scheme

Robert Benlevi, 53, of Encino obtained a 135-month sentence next his March conviction for financial institution fraud, earning untrue statements to a monetary institution, and funds laundering. Benlevi experienced been charged for publishing 27 PPP financial loan applications to four banking institutions in between April and June 2020 on behalf of eight companies owned by Benlevi.

According to courtroom files, Benlevi sought a total of $27 million in forgivable PPP financial loans certain by the Little Enterprise Administration (SBA) below the Coronavirus Aid, Aid, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act.

Benlevi sought $27 million in funding to satisfy expenses and been given $3 million that he spent on personal fees. This includes money withdrawals, payments on his credit score playing cards, and transfers to other own and business accounts he controlled. He was also renting an oceanfront apartment in Santa Monica, the Justice Department mentioned.

As a result of the fraudulent applications, Benlevi had claimed that just about every of his firms had 100 staff and averaged a monthly payroll of $400,000, when in truth that the businesses did not have any staff or payroll bills.

The prosecution’s evidence even more confirmed that Benlevi also submitted fabricated IRS documents falsely stating that every of the corporations experienced an once-a-year payroll of $4.8 million. Centered on Benlevi’s fraudulent personal loan purposes, three of Benlevi’s organizations: 1Stellar Wellness LLC, Bestways2 Overall health LLC, and Joyous-Health4U LLC obtained a whole of $3 million in PPP money.

Clamping Down of PPP Fraudsters

As a result of the PPP, the US governing administration authorized in excess of $600 billion in forgivable financial loans to modest companies. The loans had been for job retention, and other expenditures were dispersed in three quick rounds unfold in between April 2020 and May 2021. The financial loans can be entirely forgiven if organizations expend 60% of it on payroll as very well as paying desire for a home finance loan, rent, and utilities. However, some corporations tried to fraudulently obtain and use the dollars for reasons not intended as aspect of the plan.

Often PPP fraud is dedicated through false statements, ‘loan stacking’ by making use of for a PPP personal loan money from several creditors, employing the financial loan proceeds for poor or unapproved reasons, or offering phony statements throughout PPP bank loan audits or fraud investigations.

Just lately a research paper at the College of Texas at Austin – Division of Finance – found that extra than 15% of PPP financial loans or around 1.8 million of the PPP’s 11.8 million financial loans showed at minimum one indication of opportunity fraud.

The researchers also estimate that $76 billion in PPP loans was taken illicitly – amounting to just about 10% of the program’s budget. Fintech creditors experienced the highest fee of suspicious PPP financial loans. They were being generating about 29% of all PPP financial loans but accounted for a lot more than 50 % of its suspicious financial loans to borrowers.

COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Job Force

In a bid to clamp down on PPP fraud, in Could 2021, the Attorney Basic established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Job Force. The goal is to marshal the assets of the Section of Justice in partnership with other federal businesses to bolster attempts to overcome and reduce pandemic-related fraud.

Late very last year the Mystery Services investigations into unemployment insurance coverage and Paycheck Defense Program (PPP) financial loan fraud resulted in the seizure of far more than $1.2 billion though recuperating extra than $2.3 billion of fraudulently received money, and the Unemployment Insurance coverage plan.

If you have any information on any attempted fraud involving COVID-19 relief you can report it by contacting the Section of Justice’s National Heart for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or through the NCDF Internet Complaint Type at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-catastrophe-complaint-form

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Additional in: PPP Financial loans


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