Las Vegas resident charged over COVID-19 fraud scheme | USAO-NV

LA VEGAS – A Las Vegas man made his first appearance in federal court yesterday for allegedly submitting a fraudulent Economic Disaster Disaster Loan (EIDL) application seeking more than $150,000 from the Small Business Administration (SBA) under of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Ribal Hajj-Hussein (28) is charged with one count of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. U.S. Magistrate Judge Brenda Weksler has scheduled a jury trial for October 17, 2022 before U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan.

According to the allegations in the indictment, on April 14, 2020, Hajj-Hussein submitted a falsified EIDL loan application to the SBA on behalf of his company RHH Travel Consulting LLC – which was a non-operating business – in order to to obtain COVID-19 relief funds which he was not entitled to receive. In his application, Hajj-Hussein misrepresented the number of employees and the gross income. As part of the alleged scheme, Hajj-Hussein ordered the SBA to deposit more than $150,000 in EIDL funds into a bank account. Later, Hajj-Hussein transferred these funds to other bank accounts and used them for his personal expenses.

If convicted, the maximum legal penalty is 40 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Karon Ransom for the U.S. Secret Service made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department of Las Vegas. Assistant US Attorney Mina Chang is pursuing the case.

An indictment only contains allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize Department of Justice resources in partnership with government agencies to scale up enforcement and prevention efforts. pandemic-related fraud. The task force strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by increasing and integrating coordination mechanisms existing ones, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their agendas, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information about the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 866-720-5721 or via NCDF’s online complaint form at: https://www. .justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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