On November 9, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a federal grand jury in Newark, New Jersey, returned an indictment charging an Indian national for an $8 million Covid-19 relief fraud scheme. According to the indictment, Abhishek Krishnan fraudulently obtained millions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Krishnan previously resided in Wake County, North Carolina, before returning to his home country of India. Following his return to India, Krishnan allegedly submitted several fraudulent PPP loan applications to banks in the United States. Some of the applications Krishan submitted were on behalf of purported companies that were not registered business entities. 

The fraudulent applications allegedly included false statements about the companies’ employees and payroll expenses fa. Additionally, Krishan purportedly falsified the accompanying tax filings, and 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 identify theft. If convicted, Krishnan faces a maximum penalty of 84 years in prison.

According to the DOJ, since the inception of the CARES Act, the Fraud Section has prosecuted over 150 defendants in more than ninety-five 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.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with white-collar criminal investigations and PPP investigations. If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.