Six Houston Men Sentenced for $20 Million PPP Loan Fraud Scheme

Six Houston Men Sentenced for $20 Million PPP Loan Fraud Scheme

Six Houston-area men have been sentenced for their roles in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain more than $20 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Hamza Abbas, 31, Ammas Uddin, 31, and Arham Uddin, 27, all from Richmond, received sentences of 44, 18, and 18 months in prison, respectively. Syed Ali, 55, from Sugar Land, was sentenced to 24 months. Muhammad Anis, 55, and Jesus Acosta Perez, 33, both from Houston, received sentences of 21 months and 12 months and a day, respectively. They had previously pleaded guilty and are also ordered to pay varying amounts in restitution.

According to court documents, the men conspired to fraudulently obtain PPP loans by providing false information about their businesses in loan applications, including falsifying the number of employees and average monthly payroll expenses. The applications included fraudulent bank records and fake federal tax forms.

Abbas recruited others into the conspiracy and created fake bank records used to support loan applications in exchange for kickbacks. They laundered some of the proceeds by writing checks from companies that received PPP loans to fake employees, which were then cashed at certain cash checking businesses, including one owned by another co-conspirator.

In January, three other individuals who pleaded guilty were sentenced for their roles in the scheme. Raheel Malik, 43, from Sugar Land, and Nishant Patel, 41, from Houston, received sentences of 18 and 24 months, respectively. Harjeet Sing, 50, from Katy, was sentenced to five years of probation.

Earlier in October 2023, seven others were sentenced for their involvement in the conspiracy, including the ringleader, Amir Aqeel, 55, from Houston, who received a 15-year prison sentence.

The investigation was conducted by various agencies including the SBA – Office of Inspector General (OIG), Federal Housing Finance Agency – OIG (Central Region), Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – OIG (Dallas Region), and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (Gulf States Field Division).