IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California man has pleaded not guilty to charges he obtained $5 million in federal coronavirus-relief loans for phony businesses and then used the money for lavish vacations and to buy a Ferrari, Bentley and Lamborghini, prosecutors said Monday.
Mustafa Qadiri, 38, was arrested last week on suspicion of scheming to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program, which was implemented last year to help small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Qadiri, of Irvine, pleaded not guilty Friday to multiple charges including bank fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Qadiri’s attorney, Bilal A. Essayli, declined further comment Monday.
Prosecutors said Qadiri submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications to three banks on behalf of four companies that didn’t actually exist. The applications included altered bank records, fake tax returns and false information about employees, according to the indictment.