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

ByValerie Winifred

Jul 21, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The U.S. Department of Justice mentioned in a assertion a  Southern California male has been sentenced to 11 many years and 3 months in jail in excess of Paycheck Security System (PPP) loan fraud.



California Person Sentenced for PPP Bank loan Fraud Plan

Robert Benlevi, 53, of Encino received a 135-month sentence pursuing his March conviction for lender fraud, generating untrue statements to a financial establishment, and revenue laundering. Benlevi had been billed for publishing 27 PPP loan programs to four banking companies in between April and June 2020 on behalf of eight businesses owned by Benlevi.

According to court docket documents, Benlevi sought a complete of $27 million in forgivable PPP loans certain by the Little Business Administration (SBA) underneath the Coronavirus Help, Aid, and Economic Safety (CARES) Act.

Benlevi sought $27 million in funding to fulfill fees and acquired $3 million that he used on own bills. This incorporates money withdrawals, payments on his credit rating cards, and transfers to other individual and enterprise accounts he managed. He was also renting an oceanfront apartment in Santa Monica, the Justice Department said.

By way of the fraudulent applications, Benlevi experienced claimed that each of his organizations experienced 100 workforce and averaged a monthly payroll of $400,000, when in truth that the corporations did not have any employees or payroll fees.

The prosecution’s evidence additional showed that Benlevi also submitted fabricated IRS paperwork falsely stating that each individual of the businesses had an once-a-year payroll of $4.8 million. Dependent on Benlevi’s fraudulent mortgage applications, a few of Benlevi’s corporations: 1Stellar Overall health LLC, Bestways2 Well being LLC, and Joyous-Wellness4U LLC attained a overall of $3 million in PPP cash.

Clamping Down of PPP Fraudsters

Via the PPP, the US governing administration authorized over $600 billion in forgivable financial loans to small organizations. The financial loans ended up for job retention, and other charges had been dispersed in three small rounds distribute amongst April 2020 and May well 2021. The loans can be fully forgiven if companies commit 60% of it on payroll as properly as shelling out interest for a home loan, rent, and utilities. On the other hand, some organizations attempted to fraudulently attain and use the cash for uses not meant as part of the system.

Frequently PPP fraud is fully commited by fake statements, ‘loan stacking’ by applying for a PPP personal loan cash from various loan providers, making use of the loan proceeds for improper or unapproved reasons, or providing bogus statements throughout PPP mortgage audits or fraud investigations.

Lately a research paper at the University of Texas at Austin – Section of Finance – located that far more than 15% of PPP loans or all over 1.8 million of the PPP’s 11.8 million financial loans showed at least just one sign of likely fraud.

The scientists also estimate that $76 billion in PPP financial loans was taken illicitly – amounting to just about 10% of the program’s price range. Fintech lenders had the maximum rate of suspicious PPP loans. They ended up producing around 29% of all PPP loans but accounted for additional than 50 % of its suspicious loans to borrowers.

COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Pressure

In a bid to clamp down on PPP fraud, in May well 2021, the Lawyer Common proven the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Process Pressure. The aim is to marshal the means of the Office of Justice in partnership with other federal businesses to bolster efforts to combat and avoid pandemic-linked fraud.

Late final year the Solution Company investigations into unemployment coverage and Paycheck Protection Software (PPP) personal loan fraud resulted in the seizure of much more than $1.2 billion whilst recuperating a lot more than $2.3 billion of fraudulently received cash, and the Unemployment Insurance plan.

If you have any information and facts on any tried fraud involving COVID-19 reduction you can report it by calling the Office of Justice’s Countrywide Heart for Catastrophe Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF World-wide-web Grievance Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-catastrophe-criticism-type

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