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Californian accused of using COVID loans to buy Ferrari

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) – A man in Southern California has pleaded not guilty to obtaining $ 5 million in federal coronavirus relief loans for bogus businesses, then using the money for a lavish vacation and to buy a Ferrari, Bentley and Lamborghini, prosecutors said Monday.

Mustafa Qadiri, 38, was arrested last week on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program, which was implemented last year to help struggling small businesses during the COVID pandemic -19.

Qadiri, of Irvine, pleaded not guilty on Friday to several counts, including bank fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering, according to the US Attorney’s Office. Qadiri’s lawyer, Bilal A. Essayli, declined to comment on Monday.

Prosecutors said Qadiri submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications to three banks on behalf of four companies that did not actually exist. The requests included altered bank statements, false income tax returns and false employee information, according to the indictment.

Qadiri also used someone else’s name, social security number and signature to fraudulently apply for one of the loans, prosecutors said.

He received $ 5 million in loans that investigators said they used to pay for travel, sports cars and personal expenses.

Federal agents seized the Ferrari, Bentley and Lamborghini cars purchased by Qadiri, as well as about $ 2 million in his bank accounts, prosecutors said.

U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton has scheduled a jury trial for June 29. Qadiri was released on $ 100,000 bail.


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Justine T. Smith

The author Justine T. Smith

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