Two Men Sentenced For Paycheck Protection Program Loan Fraud
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced that David Kurbanov of Wyoming, Michigan, and James Williams of Dacula, Georgia, were sentenced to 36 months’ and 33 months’ imprisonment, respectively, followed by 3 years’ supervised release, by U.S. District Judge Jane Beckering. Kurbanov and Williams both previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit concealment money laundering.
In 2020, law enforcement investigated Kurbanov, Williams, and others regarding certain CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications and loans. The investigation revealed that between June 2020 and December 2020, Kurbanov and Williams conspired with each other and others to fraudulently obtain PPP loans from the Small Business Administration. Williams counseled Kurbanov on how to obtain a PPP loan for Kurbanov’s non-operational companies and assisted Kurbanov in preparing false tax documents submitted with PPP loan applications. Kurbanov and another individual ultimately obtained $1,495,067 in PPP loan funds. To date, law enforcement has seized and recovered over $1,123,567 traceable to the fraudulently obtained PPP funds through a parallel civil asset forfeiture action.
At sentencing Judge Beckering noted that Kurbanov did not just take out one loan, but two loans, which were funded for the purpose of assisting families and small businesses who were financially desperate during the pandemic. She also noted the importance of deterring others from participating in such schemes in the future. Kurbanov and Williams were both ordered to pay $1,495,067 in restitution.
U.S. Attorney Birge said, “These individuals sought to illegally profit from a program designed to assist small businesses detrimentally affected by the pandemic. Like most ‘get rich quick schemes,’ their greedy actions did not pay out in the end. Those who, like Mr. Kurbanov and Mr. Williams, attempt to acquire wealth through illegal means will get our attention and face imprisonment.”
“By illegally taking money from the Paycheck Protection Program, these defendants harmed the owners and employees of small businesses struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Josh Hauxhurst, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate and hold accountable anyone taking advantage of a global health crisis to line their own pockets.”
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan C. Roth, and Kristin M. Pinkston and investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
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