A federal jury today convicted a California man of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security).
According to evidence presented at trial, Oumar Sissoko, 59, whose last known residence was in Temecula, applied for a PPP loan on behalf of his company, Road Doctor California LLC, and was granted $7.25 million. The loan application certified that the funds would be used to retain workers and maintain payrolls or make mortgage interest payments, lease payments and utility payments. In early May 2020, Sissoko misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars of PPP loan proceeds to use for impermissible purposes, including buying a luxury car for over $100,000, satisfying a loan made to Sissoko in connection with his earlier acquisition of a different luxury car and purchase of a computer for nearly $6,000. Sissoko also attempted to wire approximately $150,000 to accounts in Mauritania associated with another company for which Sissoko claimed to be CEO.
Sissoko was found guilty of four counts of wire fraud. He is due to be sentenced on July 18 and faces up to 20 years in prison on each count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; US Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison for the Central District of California; Deputy Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigations Division; Deputy Director in Charge Kristi K. Johnson of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Weston King of the US Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG) Western Region; and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey D. Pittano of the San Francisco Regional Office of the Office of the Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC-OIG) made the announcement.
The FBI, SBA-OIG, and FDIC-OIG investigated the matter.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn Small for the Central District of California and Trial Attorney Jason Covert of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize Department of Justice resources in partnership with government agencies to scale up enforcement and prevention efforts. pandemic-related fraud. The task force strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and integrating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and by sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information about the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline via the NCDF’s online complaint form at address https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud /formulaire-de-plainte-en cas-de-catastrophe-ncdf.