CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell sentenced Maurice Kamgaing, 42, formerly of Charlotte currently residing in Archdale, N.C., to 33 months in prison for fraudulently obtaining more than $1.5 million in COVID-19 relief funds, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. In addition to the prison term imposed, Kamgaing was ordered to serve five years under court supervision and to pay $1,454,296.14 in restitution. Judge Bell also entered a money judgment of $1,506,463 against Kamgaing, and a forfeiture order against the office building the defendant purchased with the fraudulently obtained loans as well as the two brokerage accounts he used to facilitate the fraud.
Robert R. Wells, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, and Donald “Trey” Eakins, Special Agent in Charge of the of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), Charlotte Field Office, join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
The CARES Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020. It is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act is through forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, on April 7, 2020, Kamgaing filed a fraudulent application for a PPP loan with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for Apiagne, Inc. (Apiagne), a company that Kamgaing incorporated in 2019. Court records show that the Apiagne PPP loan application contained false information about the number of employees and its payroll. As a result of the fraudulent representations, on or about May 6, 2020, Apiagne received a PPP loan for $856,463, which Kamgaing used for unauthorized purposes and for his personal benefit.
Filed court documents also show that on April 27, 2020, Kamgaing filed another fraudulent PPP loan application on behalf of AKC Solutions, a company that Kamgaing had previously dissolved and subsequently reinstated in May 2020. The loan application for AKC Solutions also misrepresented the number of employees employed by the company and its monthly payroll disbursements. On May 5, 2020, a PPP loan for $650,000 was disbursed to AKC Solutions, and within days of receiving the loan Kamgaing used the funds for various improper purposes and to pay for personal expenses. To substantiate the representations in both loan applications, Kamgaing created and presented fraudulent documentation, including fake tax returns and bank statements.
According to court documents, Kamgaing used $850,000 of the PPP loan proceeds to purchase a commercial office building in Archdale and transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to two brokerage accounts where he invested the funds in the stock market for his personal benefit.
On August 25, 2021, Kamgaing pleaded guilty to wire fraud in relation to a disaster benefit and engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked the FBI and IRS-CI for their investigation of this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Caryn Finley, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form. Members of the public in the Western District of North Carolina are also encouraged to call 704-344-6222 to reach their local Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator.
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