Nigerian-American charged for COVID-19 relief fraud in US

COVID-19
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A man of Nigerian origin Oluwadamilare Olugbuyi on Tuesday was charged with COVID-Relief fraud in Washington, D.C. United States.

Olugbuyi, owner of a residential construction contracting firm based in Washington, D.C., was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed in the District of Columbia with making false statements to a financial institution.

According to the complaint contained in a statement released by the Department of Justice, Olugbuyi submitted several fake and fraudulent documents to a financial institution in support of two PPP loan applications seeking more than $400,000 in forgivable loans for a construction firm that he owned.

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“Specifically, Olugbuyi submitted what purported to be several IRS Forms 1099-MISC reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars in disbursements made to independent contractors,” the statement said.

“Olugbuyi allegedly submitted to the financial institution what purported to be a tax return reporting $175,565 in adjusted gross income for tax year 2019,” it added.

DoJ said records from IRS shows that Olugbuyi is only qualified to receive a $1,200 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) economic impact payment.

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“On April 14, 2020, Olugbuyi filed an IRS Form 1040 reporting $1 in total income for 2019. This document, known as a “non-filer return,” qualified Olugbuyi to receive a $1,200 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) economic impact payment.

The complaint alleged that the social security numbers reflected on the forms were either invalid or assigned to other people.

The CARES Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the pandemic.

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One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses, through the PPP. In April 2020, the United States Congress authorised over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.

The PPP allows qualifying small businesses and other organisations to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1 percent.

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