N.J. man charged in $1.9M COVID aid mortgage rip-off, feds say

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A Sussex County man fraudulently obtained $1.9 million in loans utilizing the Paycheck Safety Program, the federal authorities’s financial aid initiative for companies struggling in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, authorities stated Thursday.

John Jhong, 51, of Sparta, was charged with financial institution fraud, false illustration of a Social Safety quantity and cash laundering, New Jersey Appearing U.S. Lawyer Rachael A. Honig stated in a press release.

Jhong submitted 10 fraudulent PPP mortgage purposes for purported companies, in response to court docket paperwork. He was the self-reported proprietor, supervisor, and/or associate on a number of LLCs, a legal criticism stated.

As a part of the method to obtain a PPP mortgage, candidates apply on to banks and different monetary establishments taking part within the Small Enterprise Administration-led program. Mortgage seekers are required to make numerous “affirmative certifications” to find out their eligibility.

A few of the required info consists of particulars on common month-to-month payroll bills, the variety of workers and intent for the mortgage, starting from payroll, lease and utilities, in response to officers.

Jhong made a number of false claims on his paperwork to high quality for the loans, together with about tax info, in response to a federal criticism. A few of the supposed “enterprise companions” he listed used Social Safety numbers for useless folks, an IRS legal investigations particular agent stated within the doc.

“Primarily based on Jhong’s alleged misrepresentations, the lenders authorised Jhong’s PPP mortgage purposes and supplied Jhong’s purported enterprise with $1.9 million in federal COVID-19 emergency aid funds meant for distressed small companies,” the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace stated in a press release. “Jhong then transformed a portion of the proceeds right into a cashier’s verify that was used to fund a enterprise account.”

If convicted, Jhong may face a 30 yr jail time period for the financial institution fraud cost, 10 years on the cash laundering rely and a 5 yr time period for the Social Safety-related offense, in response to authorities.

Federal prosecutors have introduced a number of instances nationwide in various scams stemming from applications that present financial assist in the course of the pandemic. Officers requested anybody with details about COVID-19-related fraud to contact the Justice Division’s Nationwide Heart for Catastrophe Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or go to its web site.

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Noah Cohen could also be reached at ncohen@njadvancemedia.com.

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