Man convicted of $4.1 million COVID-19 relief fraud | Takeover bid
A federal jury in Detroit today convicted a Michigan man of a wire fraud and money laundering scheme to obtain more than $4.1 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans ) and Economic Disaster Loans (EIDLs) guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Johnny Ho, 41, of Novi, engaged in a conspiracy to submit falsified PPP and EIDL loan applications in order to obtain COVID-19 relief funds that he he had no right to receive. Evidence showed that Ho, owner of Northville-based Diva Nails & Spa III LLC, submitted inflated payroll information and otherwise falsified loan application information. Ho personally submitted two fraudulent PPP and EIDL loan applications seeking nearly $350,000 in funds to help small businesses and their employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, Ho and his co-conspirators submitted 29 different fraudulent PPP and EIDL loan applications on behalf of 16 companies totaling more than $4.1 million.
Ho was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. He is due to be sentenced on September 27 and faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the wire fraud charges and up to 10 years in prison for money laundering. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; US Attorney Dawn Ison for the Eastern District of Michigan; Special Agent in Charge James A. Tarasca of the FBI Field Office in Detroit; and Special Agent in Charge Sharon Johnson of the SBA-Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG) made the announcement.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the SBA-OIG.
Attorney Patrick J. Suter of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan A. Particka for the Eastern District of Michigan are prosecuting the case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize Department of Justice resources in partnership with government agencies to scale up enforcement and prevention efforts. pandemic-related fraud. The task force strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and integrating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and by sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information about the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline via the NCDF’s online complaint form at address https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud /formulaire-de-plainte-en cas-de-catastrophe-ncdf.