Seattle, Washington - A Washington man pleaded guilty Monday to wire fraud and money laundering in connection with his scheme to obtain over $5.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and laundering the proceeds.
Mukund Mohan, 48, of Clyde Hill, was charged in July 2020. According to the plea agreement and other records filed in the case, Mohan submitted at least eight fraudulent PPP loan applications on behalf of six different companies to federally insured financial institutions. In support of the fraudulent loan applications, Mohan made numerous false and misleading statements about the companies’ respective business operations and payroll expenses.
In support of the fraudulent loan applications, Mohan submitted fake and altered documents, including fake federal tax filings and altered incorporation documents. For example, Mohan misrepresented to a lender that, in 2019, his company Mahenjo Inc. had dozens of employees and paid millions of dollars in employee wages and payroll taxes. In support of Mahenjo’s loan application, Mohan submitted incorporation documents showing that he incorporated the company in 2018 and filed federal unemployment tax forms for 2019. In truth, Mohan purchased Mahenjo on the Internet in May 2020 and, at time he purchased the company, it had no employees and no business activity. The incorporation documents he submitted to the lender were altered and the federal tax filings he submitted were fake.
Quick action by federal law enforcement resulted in the seizure of nearly all of the federal loan funds from Mohan’s accounts. Mohan is scheduled to be sentenced on July 20 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (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 COVID-19 pandemic. 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, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.
The PPP allows qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1%. Businesses must use PPP loan proceeds for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. The PPP allows the interest and principal to be forgiven if businesses spend the proceeds on these expenses within a set time period and use at least a certain percentage of the loan towards payroll expenses.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington made the announcement.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General, IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Office of Inspector General are investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Christopher Fenton of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Friedman of the Western District of Washington are prosecuting the case.