A California man has pleaded not guilty to charges that he obtained $5 million (€4.1 million) in federal coronavirus relief loans for phony businesses and used the money for lavish holidays and to buy a Ferrari, Bentley and Lamborghini, prosecutors said.
Mustafa Qadiri (38) was arrested last week on suspicion of scheming to defraud the Paycheck Protection Programme, implemented last year to help small businesses struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Qadiri, of Irvine, pleaded not guilty on Friday to multiple charges including bank fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering, according to the US Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors said he submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications to three banks on behalf of four companies that did not exist. The applications included altered bank records, fake tax returns and false information about employees, according to the indictment.
Qadiri also used someone else’s name, social security number and signature to fraudulently apply for one of the loans, prosecutors said.
He received $5 million in loans that investigators said he used to pay for trips, sports cars and personal expenses.
Federal agents have seized the Ferrari, Bentley and Lamborghini, along with about $2 million from his bank accounts, prosecutors said.
US District Judge Josephine L Staton scheduled a jury trial for June 29th. Qadiri was released on $100,000 bail.