Man Convicted for $27 Million PPP Fraud Scheme | OPA

A federal jury convicted a California gentleman yesterday for distributing fraudulent applications trying to get income from the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP), distributing untrue statements to a money institution, and money laundering. 

According to courtroom paperwork and proof offered at trial, Robert Benlevi, 53, of Encino, submitted 27 PPP mortgage purposes to 4 banking institutions amongst April and June 2020 on behalf of eight providers only owned by Benlevi. In the programs, Benlevi sought a full of $27 million in forgivable PPP loans certain by the Compact Small business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Help, Reduction, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act. In his fraudulent applications, Benlevi represented that each of his organizations experienced 100 employees and normal regular payroll of $400,000, even although he understood that the companies did not have any workers or payroll expenditures. The evidence additional 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.

Primarily based on Benlevi’s fraudulent financial loan programs, three of Benlevi’s organizations — 1Stellar Health and fitness LLC, Bestways2 Wellbeing LLC, and Joyous-Well being4U LLC — received $3 million in PPP money. While Benlevi falsely represented that the funds sought by way of the PPP personal loan apps would be employed to spend payroll and specific other company fees, the evidence showed that he instead utilised them for private bills, which includes income withdrawals, payments on his own credit rating cards, transfers to other personal and business enterprise accounts he controlled, and leasing an oceanfront condominium in Santa Monica. In a solitary day, Benlevi withdrew from the Bestways2 Well being account $248,000 of PPP cash in cashier’s checks, which were deposited into other accounts that Benlevi managed.

Benlevi was convicted of bank fraud, phony statements to a money establishment, and income laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 27 and faces up to 30 several years in prison for each individual of the lender fraud and wrong assertion charges, and up to 10 yrs in jail for every depend of dollars laundering. A federal district court decide will figure out any sentence immediately after looking at the U.S. Sentencing Rules and other statutory things.

Assistant Attorney Standard Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Felony Division U.S. Legal professional Tracy L. Wilkison of the Central District of California Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division Assistant Director in Charge Kristi K. Johnson of the FBI’s Los Angeles Area Business office Exclusive Agent in Cost Jeffrey D. Pittano of the Federal Deposit Insurance coverage Company Office of Inspector Basic (FDIC-OIG) and Specific Agent in Cost Weston King of the SBA Workplace of Inspector Common (SBA-OIG) Western Region built the announcement.

The FBI, SBA-OIG, and FDIC-OIG investigated the scenario. 

Demo Lawyers Emily Culbertson and Justin Givens of the Legal Division’s Fraud Area are prosecuting the case.

On Could 17, 2021, the Lawyer Basic recognized the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Endeavor Pressure to marshal the resources of the Office of Justice in partnership with agencies throughout governing administration to enrich attempts to battle and protect against pandemic-similar fraud. The Activity Pressure bolsters attempts to examine and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international felony actors and assists agencies tasked with administering reduction systems to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating present coordination mechanisms, figuring out resources and strategies to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing info and insights acquired from prior enforcement attempts. For far more facts on the department’s reaction to the pandemic, please pay a visit to https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Any person with information and facts about allegations of tried fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s Nationwide Middle for Catastrophe Fraud (NCDF) Hotline via the NCDF Internet Grievance Sort at https://www.justice.gov/catastrophe-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-variety.