Authorities charged Jorge Abramovs, 40, with bank fraud, making false statements to a bank, and money laundering. He allegedly obtained loans from seven different lenders by falsely claiming to have numerous employees on payroll.
Abramovs is accused of using the funds to buy a Tesla, a Bentley, pay off his home mortgage, and purchase two condominiums.
He was initially arrested on Jan. 17 and was ordered to be held pending trial on Jan. 22.
The Paycheck Protection Program was enacted last April to help small businesses stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic and continue paying employees.
According to the Small Business Administration’s latest data, 5,550,486 loans have been approved for a total of $557 billion. The loans can be forgiven if businesses use at least 60% of the funds on payroll.
The DOJ has prosecuted more than 100 defendants for PPP fraud and seized more than $60 million in cash, real estate properties, and luxury items since the program first began nine months ago.
Many of the cases are similar to Abramovs’. For instance, a Virginia man pleaded guilty to bank fraud Thursday after he fraudulently obtained $2.5 million through PPP, then spent the money on a Lexus, private jet, and a down payment on a luxury home.