North Carolina Man Sentenced for $1.7 Million COVID-19 Fraud
A North Carolina man was sentenced today to 20 months in prison for fraudulently obtaining over $1.7 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
According to court documents, Tristan Bishop Pan, 40, of Garner, submitted numerous fraudulent PPP loan applications to federally insured banks, including on behalf of entities named Pan Insurance Agency, White Walker, Khaleesi, and The Night’s Watch. In support of the fraudulent PPP loan applications, Pan made false statements about the companies’ employees and payroll expenses. The PPP loan applications were supported by fake documents, including falsified tax filings. According to court documents, Pan submitted at least 14 PPP loan applications seeking over $6.1 million and received more than $1.7 million in benefits. Pan pleaded guilty to wire fraud in August 2021.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Michael F. Easley Jr. for the Eastern District of North Carolina; Special Agent in Charge Mark Morini of the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) – Southeast Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Kyle A. Myles of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG) – Atlanta Region; Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division; and Special Agent in Charge Robert R. Wells of the FBI’s Charlotte Field Office made the announcement.
The TIGTA, FDIC-OIG, and the FBI, with the assistance of the SBA Office of Inspector General, investigated the case.
Assistant Chief Justin M. Woodard of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ethan A. Ontjes and John Harris for the Eastern District of North Carolina prosecuted the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s prosecution of fraud schemes that exploit the PPP. Since the inception of the CARES Act, the Fraud Section has prosecuted over 150 defendants in more than 95 criminal cases and has seized over $75 million in cash proceeds derived from fraudulently obtained PPP funds, as well as numerous real estate properties and luxury items purchased with such proceeds. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/ppp-fraud.
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.