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California Man Convicted of COVID-19 Relief Fraud | OPA | #itsecurity | #infosec | #hacking | #aihp



A federal jury convicted a California man today of misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

According to evidence presented at trial, Oumar Sissoko, 59, whose last known residence was in Temecula, submitted a PPP loan application on behalf of his company, Road Doctor California LLC, and obtained $7.25 million. The loan application certified that the funds would be used to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage-interest payments, lease payments, and utility payments. In early May 2020, Sissoko misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars of the PPP loan proceeds to use for impermissible purposes, including the purchase of a luxury car for more than $100,000, the satisfaction of a loan made to Sissoko in connection with his prior acquisition of a different luxury car, and the purchase of a computer for almost $6,000. Sissoko also attempted to transmit approximately $150,000 to accounts in Mauritania associated with a different company for which Sissoko purported to serve as CEO.

Sissoko was convicted of four counts of wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 18 and faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of conviction. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison for the Central District of California; Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division; Assistant Director in Charge Kristi K. Johnson of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Weston King of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General’s (SBA-OIG) Western Region; and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey D. Pittano of the San Francisco Regional Office of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG) made the announcement.

The FBI, SBA-OIG, and FDIC-OIG investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn Small for the Central District of California and Trial Attorney Jason Covert of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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