California prosecutors are investigating abuse of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the loans given to businesses suffering under the economic crisis ushered in from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the New York Times, one person used the government handouts to purchase a Lamborghini, Bentley and Ferrari.
"The man, Mustafa Qadiri, 38, of Irvine, was indicted by a federal grand jury on four counts of bank fraud, four counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and six counts of money laundering, the U.S. attorney in the Central District of California announced," said the Times.
Prosecutors say that Qadiri's attempts to obtain a federal loan began in May 2020 and scored him $5.1 million less than a month later. He then went on a "spending spree," according to the Times report, purchasing not only the luxury cars but funding "lavish vacations," while the country was under lockdown. All of the purchases violate the PPP spending rules.
"Mr. Qadiri submitted applications to three different banks for Covid-19 relief funds in order to help four companies based in California that, in fact, were not in operation," said the report, citing prosecutors in the case. "In addition to submitting fraudulent company information and 'altered bank account records,' Mr. Qadiri is also accused of using someone else's name, Social Security number and signature on the applications, according to a statement from prosecutors."
At least two of the cars have already been repossessed.
Qadiri isn't the only one who took advantage of the hefty loans. Ruth's Chris Steak House was blasted after it was discovered the $20 million PPP loan they got wasn't going to help their servers at most of their restaurants. Texas pastor Joel Osteen scored $4.4 million in loans for Lakewood Church, despite his massive net worth. Ultimately, nearly 500 people have been charged with abuse and fraud over the COVID PPP loans, totaling $569 million.