A North Texas couple has been charged with defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program out of more than $684,000, announed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
Patrick Kasong Muyej, 48, and Chisanga Mable Scot, 43, were indicted on one count each of conspiracy to commit conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Mr. Muyej was also charged with eight counts of money laundering and one count of theft of government funds while Ms. Scott was charged with one count of false use of a passport.
According to the indictment, the pair allegedly submitted fraudulent applications for $1.85 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans on behalf of businesses that did not qualify for the loans.
In application paperwork, they allegedly falsified the business’s number of employees – listing individuals who they did not employ – and manufacturing the businesses’ monthly payroll.
They allegedly used the same bank statement in support of multiple loan applications but doctored the name of the account holder on each one to match the name of the PPP loan applicant.
In total, they received two PPP loans totaling $684,158.33. Mr. Muyej is also alleged to have laundered that money.
In addition, Mr. Muyej also took advantage of Covid relief by fraudulently obtaining unemployment insurance benefits from the State of Nevada in August 2020.
An indictment is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Both defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, Mr. Muyej and Ms. Scott face up to 20 years in federal prison on the count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Mr. Muyej also faces up to 20 years in prison on each count of money laundering and up to ten years for the count of theft of government funds. Ms. Scott faces up to 10 additional years on the count of false use of a passport.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marty Basu is prosecuting the case.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPP provided forgivable loans to small businesses to cover payroll, rent, and certain other expenses.