A Sussex County man was arrested Thursday on accusations of having obtained nearly $2 million in fraudulent loans through the federal government’s COVID-19 business relief plan.
John Jhong, of Sparta, applied for 10 fraudulent PPP loans for businesses of which he claimed to be an owner, manager and/or partner, according to a statement from New Jersey Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig.
Jhong’s applications contained fraudulent statements and falsified records claiming to come from the IRS, authorities said.
“In fact, according to IRS records, none of the tax documents Jhong submitted with the PPP loan applications were ever filed with the IRS,” Honig said.
Jhong, 51, also fraudulently identified several individuals who had died over 10 years ago as current business partners, authorities said.
Jhong was charged with bank fraud, false representation of a Social Security number and money laundering after converting a portion of the $1.9 million in proceeds to a cashier’s check that was used to fund a business account, Honig said.
Convictions of bank fraud carry a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine, or twice the gross gain to the defendant or gross loss to the victim — whichever is greater.
Anyone with information about COVID-19 PPP fraud is asked to report it to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form.
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