LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An Encino man was arrested on Thursday for his alleged involvement in a $27 million federal coronavirus Paycheck Protection Program fraud scheme.
52-year-old Robert Benlevi is accused of submitting 27 bank loan applications to four banks on behalf of eight purported companies he owned, which in actuality had no workers, officials said.READ MORE: Coronavirus Hospitalizations Continue To Rise In Los Angeles County
He claimed in the applications that the companies had 100 employees and an average payroll of $400,000, which was not true, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Benlevi was seeking $27 million in forgivable PPP loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, prosecutors said.READ MORE: TikTok Star Anthony Barajas Dies After Corona Movie Theater Shooting
Some of the companies he used in the application were 1Stellar Health LLC, Bestways2 Health LLC and Joyous-Health4U LLC.
He is accused of falsely representing that he would use the funds to pay payroll and business expenses, but he used them for personal expenses instead.
Benlevi is charged with six counts each of bank fraud and making false statements in a loan application and four counts of money laundering.MORE NEWS: Bacteria At Some Beaches Near Dockweiler Continues To Exceed State Standards
Each count of bank fraud and false statements in a loan application carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison, and the money laundering counts each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.