Let's not forget the Bentley, too.
Sadly, this isn't the first time someone has been caught misusing coronavirus-relief loans and it probably won't be the last. Mustafa Qadiri, 38, of Southern California, has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraudulently obtaining $5 million in federal funds, i.e. taxpayer money, and then going on a wild spending spree. The Associated Press reports Qadiri bought himself a Lamborghini Aventador S, and a Ferrari and Bentley, of which the models weren't specified. He also spent a lot of money on luxurious vacations.
Qadiri allegedly took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program, which was implemented last year to assist small businesses that were struggling due to Covid-related lockdowns and forced closures.
Prosecutors say Qadiri submitted false PPP loan applications to three banks for four companies that didn't exist. He even altered bank records, provided fake tax returns, and false employee information. If that wasn't enough, Qadiri then used someone else's name, Social Security number, and signature when he applied for at least one of the loans. The banks and the government didn't catch his crime at first and he got the money.
Since crimes like this aimed at defrauding the PPP aren't new, federal investigators have been on the lookout for suspicious activities. What exactly alerted them to Qadiri remains unknown, but we suspect it's because he submitted more than one application.
Put simply, he got greedy (on top of committing fraud against the federal government) and figured he could get away with creating more than one company out of thin air. Not only did federal agents seize his supercars last week, but also $2 million from his bank accounts. That means from between the time he received the money sometime last year until just prior to getting caught, Qadiri managed to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million.
He's since been released on a $100,000 bond and his jury trial begins on June 29. Not so surprisingly, Qadiri's lawyer declined to comment.