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Press Release

Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to $3.6M Covid-19 Relief Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of North Carolina

GREENSBORO, NC – BENNETT ABABIO of Maryland pled guilty today to one-count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States related to a scheme to file fraudulent loan applications seeking approximately $3.6 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that the Small Business Administration (SBA) guaranteed under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

According to court documents, between May 2020 and December 2021, ABABIO conspired to submit fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loan and forgiveness applications for himself and others, including an individual located in Greensboro, North Carolina. ABABIO owned, or partially owned, five companies for which ABABIO submitted fraudulent PPP applications. In total, ABABIO received $2,581,833 in PPP loans for his companies. The PPP applications contained false statements about the payroll expenses of each company, which the SBA used to calculate the amount of PPP funds to which the applicant-companies would be entitled. Separately, ABABIO helped others prepare fraudulent PPP applications, resulting in over $1 million in additional PPP loans being disbursed to ABABIO’s clients.

Sentencing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, September 10, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. in Greensboro, North Carolina, courtroom number one, before United States District Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. At sentencing, ABABIO faces a maximum sentence of five in prison, a period of supervised release of up to three years, and monetary penalties.

The Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation is investigating the case, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley Waid.


Updated May 10, 2024