Saturday, August 19, 2023

Federal Judge Sentences Wife in Florence Co. COVID-19 Fraud Scheme to 1 Year in Prison; Defendant Already Charged with Fraud Now Suspected of Lying to Obtain $4M in COVID Relief, and other C-Virus related stories

Source: Florence County Detention Center
Federal judge sentences wife in Florence Co. COVID-19 fraud scheme to 1 year in prison:
FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – A Florence County woman who was part of a scheme that took federal money from those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic was sentenced on Tuesday.
A federal judge sentenced Nariman Masoud to 12 months and 1 day in the Bureau of Prisons. Once she is released from prison she will be on court-ordered supervision for two years. There is no parole in the federal system.
Along with the federal prison time, Masoud was also ordered to pay $604,074 in restitution.
Masoud, her husband Mohammad Farraj and other family members pleaded guilty to devising a scheme to defraud and obtain under false pretenses through wire fraud.
Evidence showed that those involved in the scheme submitted applications in four states – Arizona, New York, Florida and South Carolina – using personal information of other people and receive fraudulent claims for unemployment insurance and expanded pandemic unemployment insurance benefits.
They would have funds loaded onto prepaid debit cards issued in the names of the third parties, then they would use the cards to withdraw money. --->READ MORE HERE
Photo by Chris Stone
Defendant Already Charged with Fraud Now Suspected of Lying to Obtain $4M in COVID Relief
A San Diego man already facing fraud and money laundering charges is now accused of taking $4 million in ill-gotten pandemic loans, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Friday.
Denny Bhakta, 41, is accused of applying for and receiving at least 18 loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, which provided small businesses with funding for payroll and expenses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prosecutors allege Bhakta misrepresented his businesses’ payroll expenses, number of employees and how the money would be used.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged he instead used the money “to make credit card payments, pay large expenses at casinos and make cash withdrawals,” as well as engage in an investment fraud scheme that resulted in a 2021 indictment.
In that alleged scheme, prosecutors say he took at least $28 million from investors over a five-year period by soliciting investors in his companies and using the money for personal purposes, as well as paying other investors. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Miami-Dade Corrections sergeant faces prison time for COVID-19 loan fraud

New COVID vaccines are on the way as ‘Eris’ variant rises

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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