Thursday, October 29, 2020

Tech executive charged with laundering millions of dollars of coronavirus relief fund

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A Washington tech executive has been charged for laundering millions of dollars that were supposed to be used supporting businesses and employees during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Justice says 48-year-old Mukund Mohan of Clyde Hill filed eight fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loans for six different companies. Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans are supposed to be used to help struggling businesses stay afloat and pay their employees during the pandemic, but prosecutors say Mohan illegally used the money to support himself instead.

The complaint against Mohan alleges he lied several times about the companies he was requesting loans for, and about how many people were on their payroll. In one case, the DOJ says Mohan claimed a company of his, Mahenjo Inc., had dozens of employees who were receiving millions in wages during the pandemic.

In fact, Mohan had bought Mahenjo online in May of this year, and it had zero employees and “no business activity,” according to prosecutors. He also reportedly filed fraudulent PPP loans for his businesses Zuput, Zigantic, GitGrow, Vangal and Expect Success.

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To make claims like those and receive the PPP loans, the DOJ says Mohan submitted several fake federal tax filings and altered important business documents in an attempt to score more money.

The complaint against Mohan also claims he transferred at least $231,000 from those fraudulently obtained loans into his own personal brokerage account. Court documents also note that Mohan “purports to be a successful serial entrepreneur focused on tech startups” on social media.

Mohan has been taken into custody and charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

The DOJ is asking anyone else who has information about fraud involving COVID-19 loans to report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. Complaints can also be submitted online at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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