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Indian-Origin Man Sentenced in Multi-Million Dollar COVID-19 Relief Fraud Case in the US

A 54-year-old Indian-origin man, Pardeep Basra, and six co-conspirators have been sentenced to prison for their involvement in a multi-million-dollar COVID-19 relief fraud scheme in the United States. Basra received a three-year and five-month prison sentence for his role in one of the largest Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) fraud rings led by Amir Aqeel.

Aqeel, aged 54, received a 15-year prison sentence for fraudulently obtaining over $20 million in forgivable PPP loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. The scheme involved the submission of 75 fraudulent PPP loan applications in 2020, with the defendants falsifying employee numbers and payroll expenses.

Aqeel and others used the stolen funds to purchase luxury items such as houses, Porsches, and a Lamborghini during the pandemic. Multiple seizure warrants were executed, making it one of the largest PPP fraud cases prosecuted by the Justice Department.