A Naperville man has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering in a scheme to obtain $16 million of Paycheck Protection Program money.
Siddiq Azeemuddin, 41, is one of seven individuals, and the only one outside of Texas, who was named in the indictment.
“A Scheme to Capitalize on the Pandemic”
“These defendants allegedly participated in a scheme to capitalize on the pandemic by filing at least 80 fraudulent PPP applications and enriching themselves by $16 million, spending it on luxury items such as a Porsche and Lamborghini automobiles,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The department and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue those who would seek to illegally exploit the ongoing national emergency for their own benefit.”
Per the indictment, the group conspired to submit more than 80 fraudulent PPP loan applications. Their tactics included falsifying the number of employees and monthly payroll expenses. They submitted fraudulent bank records and federal tax forms.
The group then laundered some of their proceeds by writing checks to fake employees. Those that received checks included some of the other defendants and their relatives.
Azeemuddin’s company, Fascare International Inc. dba Almeda Discount Store, allegedly cashed more than 1,100 fake paychecks worth more than $3 million.
“Some fraudsters create the most complicated schemes to steal money from the taxpayer. Just imagine how productive they could be if they put their creativity and effort into noble and useful work,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas.
Azeemuddin appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Heather K. McShain of the Northern District of Illinois on Tuesday.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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