Business owner pleads guilty to $2.5 million pandemic fraud

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A northern Virginia man has pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining $2.5 million in federal coronavirus loans and using the money to buy an airplane and luxury car.

Didier Kindambu, 49, of Leesburg, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Alexandria to bank fraud.

Prosecutors say Kindambu applied for two loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program for his companies, Papillon Holding and Papillon Air. He submitted fraudulent documentation that his companies employed dozens of workers with millions of dollars in annual payroll when in reality he had few, if any employees.

He received $2.5 million in loans and spent the money on a Lexus, a Cessna turboprop aircraft, jewelry and other personal expenses, according to prosecutors.

He is scheduled for sentencing in August. Sentencing guidelines call for a four-year term, but in court papers Kindambu’s lawyer, Kevin Carroll, said his client is hopeful of receiving a substantially shorter term. In a statement, Carroll said in a statement that Kindambu “looks forward to making the necessary restitution to the government and taxpayers.”

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