A pair of Westchester residents are among four facing charges for their roles in a multi-million dollar COVID-19 fraud scheme during the height of the pandemic.
Mount Vernon residents Quadri Salahuddin, age 25, and Anwar Salahuddin, age 35, Los Angeles resident Christal Ransom, age 44, and Jacob Carter, age 35, of Capitol Heights, Maryland are facing charges for allegedly submitting more than 1,000 fraudulent applications for small business loans in various peoples’ names and accepting kickbacks.
US Attorney Damian Williams announced this week that the four allegedly schemed to defraud the US Small Business Administration (SBA) resulting in a loss of more than $7.6 million to the organization.
It is alleged that between the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 through July 2020, the four used the identities of more than 1,000 other individuals to submit online applications to the SBA seeking more than $10 million in funds earmarked for small businesses struggling during the pandemic.
Williams said that on the applications, the four falsely represented themselves, claiming they were the owners of multiple businesses with more than 10 employees.
In total, the SBA made advance payments of more than $7.6 million to the faux loan applicants, who kicked back cash to the four being charged in federal court.
The four were charged with:
- Conspiracy to commit wire fraud;
- Wire fraud;
- False statements;
- Aggravated identity theft.
“As alleged, the defendants schemed to steal taxpayer-funded resources intended for small businesses in need of assistance during the pandemic,” Williams said. “My Office will continue to investigate and prosecute those who would illegally seek to profit from a national emergency.”
If convicted of the top charge, each of the four faces up to 20 years in prison.
“Today’s defendants have become the latest in line to be charged for SBA loan fraud as a result of their alleged conduct during the COVID-19 pandemic,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael Driscoll said.
“As this behavior continues to be uncovered, the FBI will continue to respond to illegal activity with appropriate legal action.”
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