A man of Pakistani origin was arrested for fraudulently obtaining a $ 5.6 million loan to help small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Azhar Sarwar Rana, 30, from New Jersey, is charged with bank fraud and money laundering on one case. He was arrested on December 12 after booking a flight to Pakistan for the same day.
Rana appeared for the first time via video conference in front of US Judge James B. Clark III on Monday and was arrested without bail.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court, Rana filed a fraudulent loan application under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with a lender on behalf of a corporate entity, Azhar Sarwar Rana LLC, which allegedly invested in property development.
The application falsified salary and tax information and contained internally conflicting information about the number of employees in the company. New Jersey Department of Labor records showed that Azhar Sarwar Rana LLC was paying no wages in 2019, and the minimum wages allegedly paid in 2020 went mostly to people whose submitted Social Security numbers did not match their submitted names.
Due to Rana’s alleged misrepresentation, the lender approved Rana’s PPP loan application and provided a federal Covid-19 emergency fund of approximately $ 5.6 million to help small businesses in distress to Azhar Sarwar Rana LLC .
Rana used the fraudulently obtained PPP loan proceeds to pay for numerous personal expenses, including investing millions in the stock market, making payments to a luxury car dealership, and holding hundreds of thousands of dollars in accounts in Pakistan.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is federal law that was enacted on March 29, 2020. It is designed to provide emergency financial aid to millions of Americans suffering from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.