Dentist used fake restaurant businesses to steal millions in COVID funds, feds say

A former Oregon dentist filed dozens of fraudulent loan and grant applications, in some instances using fictitious restaurant businesses, to steal nearly $11.5 million in COVID-19 relief funds, prosecutors said.

Salwan Adjaj, 43, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Sept. 13, to “wire fraud and aggravated identity theft,” the United States Attorney’s Office District of Oregon said in a news release.

Adjaj’s lawyer did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment on Sept. 14.

From September 2020 to May 2021, Adjaj submitted dozens of loan applications to the Small Business Administration (SBA) to acquire Economic Impact Disaster Loans (EIDL) and funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), prosecutors said.

Both programs, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, allowed small businesses affected by the pandemic to apply for low-interest loans, according to the district attorney’s office.

Source: Dentist used fake restaurant businesses to steal millions in COVID funds, feds say / The Sacramento Bee

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