A federal grand jury in Newark, New Jersey, returned an indictment today charging an Indian national for fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, officials stated.
These loans are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
According to court documents, Abhishek Krishnan, 40, previously resided in Wake County, North Carolina, before returning to his home country of India.
After returning to India, Krishnan allegedly submitted numerous fraudulent PPP loan applications to federally insured banks, including on behalf of purported companies that were not registered business entities.
The fraudulent PPP loan applications allegedly included false statements about the companies’ employees and payroll expenses and falsified tax filings.
As part of the fraud scheme, Krishnan allegedly used the name of another person without that person’s authority.
Krishnan allegedly submitted at least 17 PPP loan applications seeking over $8.2 million and received more than $3.3 million in loan proceeds.
Following receipt of the funds, Krishnan allegedly laundered the proceeds of the fraud.
Krishnan is charged with two counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
If convicted, Krishnan faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the top counts and a mandatory minimum of two years in prison on each count of aggravated identity theft.
He is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The TIGTA, FDIC-OIG, U.S. Marshals Service, and SBA-OIG are investigating the case.
Assistant Chief Justin Woodard and Trial Attorney Thomas D. Campbell of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine M. Romano for the District of New Jersey are prosecuting the case.
In a separate case, Krishnan was recently charged in federal court in North Carolina with theft of government property and aggravated identity theft regarding his alleged receipt of unemployment insurance benefits funded by the federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s prosecution of fraud schemes that exploit the PPP.
Since the inception of the CARES Act, the Fraud Section has prosecuted over 150 defendants in more than 95 criminal cases and has seized over $75 million in cash proceeds derived from fraudulently obtained PPP funds, as well as numerous real estate properties and luxury items purchased with such proceeds. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/ppp-fraud.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.