San Diego Couple Charged with Stealing Stimulus Payments During Pandemic and Purchasing Luxury Mercedes-Benz and Jewelry
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – May 4, 2023
SAN DIEGO – Nasser Salman, a former San Diego resident living in Morocco, was arraigned in federal court today on charges that he fraudulently obtained more than $400,000 in COVID-relief loan funds on behalf of three companies.
According to the indictment, Salman submitted fraudulent applications to the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) in connection with Lemon Grove Deli and Grill, Inc., Al Laith Trading and Construction Consulting Inc. and Alliance Security Consulting Services, Inc.
The indictment said that between April and August 2020, Salman successfully obtained five separate PPP and EIDL loans totaling $401,000 using applications that included false representations about the number of employees, the average monthly payroll, and the gross receipts earned by these purported businesses. Salman also submitted fictitious documents in support of the applications
According to the indictment, when Salman applied for the loans, he acknowledged the funds must be used to retain workers and maintain payroll, or to make mortgage interest payments, lease payments and utility payments. Instead, as alleged in the indictment, Salman engaged in a series of financial transactions, including international wire transfers to a Morocco-based bank account, that were designed to conceal and disguise the fact that the sources for the funds were the fraudulently obtained PPP and EIDL loans.
“These loan programs were designed to render economic relief to Americans during an unprecedented public health emergency,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “This office is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting those who exploited the global pandemic to enrich themselves. We encourage anyone with information regarding individuals who have engaged in COVID-relief fraud to come forward.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and the law enforcement agencies for their excellent work on this case.
“Covid relief fraud not only waste taxpayers’ dollars; it undermines the public trust of government programs,” said Chad Plantz, special agent in charge, HSI San Diego. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and bring to justice fraudsters who diverted financial relief away from Americans at a time when they need it the most.”
A detention hearing is scheduled for May 9, 2023, at 9:30 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020 and is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses, through the PPP. In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.
Anyone with general information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Justice Department’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
DEFENDANTS Case Number 23CR0821-LL
Nasser Salman Age: 60 United States
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Counts 1-5- Wire Fraud
Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1343
Maximum Penalty: Thirty years in prison and $1,000,000 fine
Counts 6-11 – Laundering of Monetary Instruments
Title 18, U.S.C., Sections 1956(a)(1)(a)(B)(i)
Maximum Penalty: Twenty years in prison; a fine of $500,000 or twice the amount of the monetary instruments involved, whichever is greater
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mokhtari (619) 546-8402