A man from California was released on $100,000 bail after he was charged with illegally obtaining $5 million in government-backed COVID-19 relief loans he used to buy luxury sports cars, NBC News reported Saturday.
Prosecutors said Mustafa Qadiri, 38, of Irvine fraudulently received the money through the Payment Protection Program by applying for the loan under the pretense of "sham businesses."
Based on the indictment, Qadiri claimed to operate four Newport Beach-based companies. And although none of the companies are currently in operation, prosecutors said he submitted false PPP loan applications to three banks on behalf of those companies in May and June last year.
Authorities allege that Qadiri altered bank account records with inflated balances, provided false information about how many workers were paid salaries, and gave fake quarterly federal-tax return documents.
Prosecutors said Qadiri used the money to buy three cars that cost six figures apiece: a 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S, a 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia, and a Bentley Continental GT. Federal agents seized all the cars, along with $2 million from Qadiri's bank account.
Qadari is also accused of using the government loans to fund his "lavish vacations" and "payment of personal expenses," a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles shows.
PPP loans were implemented as a pandemic relief measure and were intended to help small businesses keep their workers on payroll during the economic fallout of the crisis.
A jury trial has been scheduled for June 29.