Coppell man charged in $24 million coronavirus relief fund fraud

Dinesh Sah, 55, has been charged with 3 counts of wire fraud, 3 counts of fraud and 1 count of money laundering, the DOJ says

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COPPELL, Texas – A federal grand jury has indicted a Coppell, Texas, man on three counts of wire fraud, three counts of fraud and one count of money laundering, the Department of Justice announced Friday.

According to the federal agency, Dinesh Sah, 55, spent more than $17 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans on lavish personal expenses.

Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said Sah was charged with filing fraudulent coronavirus relief loan applications.

“Mr. Sah exploited this terrible pandemic for personal gain – and he should be held accountable to the American people for that behavior,” Cox stated. “COVID-19 has devastated the finances of hardworking business owners across the nation. PPP funds should be reserved for those who really need them to keep their companies afloat. We are committed to ensuring that anyone that takes advantage of the system will be brought to justice.”

Tamera Cantu, a special agent in charge of the IRS Dallas Field Office, said Sah used the funds to stuff his own “piggy bank” and treated himself to luxury vehicles and properties.

“Today’s indictment shows Mr. Sah’s disgraceful display of greed,” Cantu stated. “Mr. Sah looked at the Paycheck Protection Program as his own personal piggy bank, treating himself to not only millions in cash, but several luxury vehicles and properties, all while legitimate small business owners in the United States desperately sought out ways to put food on their tables and to ensure their employees were paid.”

According to the indictment, Sah allegedly submitted 15 fraudulent applications, filed under the names of various businesses that he owned or controlled to eight different Small Business Administration-approved lenders seeking approximately $24.8 million in coronavirus relief loans.

In Sah’s applications, he claimed that the listed businesses had numerous employees and hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll expenses. Sah created many of the businesses after the CARES Act was enacted, and no business had employees or paid wages consistent with the amounts claimed in the loan applications, according to the DOJ.

Additionally, Sah submitted fraudulent documentation supporting his applications, including falsified federal tax filings and forged bank statements for the businesses, the DOJ said.

Ultimately, Sah received approximately $17.7 million in coronavirus relief loans.

The indictment alleges that the money was spent on multiple homes, luxury cars including a 2020 Bentley convertible, and millions of dollars were transferred internationally.

“To date, the government has seized more than $6.5 million in fraudulent proceeds that Sah obtained during the scheme,” the agency said in a statement.

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 Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form.

Related: FBI arrests man for posing as Black Lives Matter leader, collecting donations for personal use

About the Author:

Jakob Rodriguez is a digital journalist at KSAT 12. He's a graduate of Texas State University, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, The University Star.