The world is full of people looking to make money illegally. Those who own a business aren’t the kind of people that many would expect to engage in this kind of activity but interestingly, this is exactly what happened in Charlotte, North Carolina. Recently, restaurant owner Izzat Freitekh, 55, was convicted of PPP loan fraud alongside his son, Tarik Freitekh who is aged 33. This is interesting considering the kind of wealth that the family already has – Freitekh owns a total of four companies, including La Shish Kabob, La Shish Kabob Catering, Green Apple Catering, and Aroma Packaging.
During the trial, it emerged that the father-son pair managed to defraud the government for approximately $1.7 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans. This number is staggering and is similar to the kind of money that gamblers can win after a jackpot. Of course, some people will prefer sports betting thanks to the incredible bonus codes that eager gamblers can access and interested players can learn more about Pinnacle VIP code if they are looking to make their money work harder for them.
As some will know, the PPP loans are provided by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The act was designed to help small businesses who were struggling from the effects of the pandemic, something which those involved in hospitality would have felt particularly. This would have been fine had Freitekh not submitted fraudulent applications, but it was heard in court that these applications grossly mispresented the number of employees who worked at these companies, as well as exaggerating payroll expenses.
After making the applications and receiving the money from the SBA, both father and son then began to engage in illegal transactions with family members. Some of these payments to the family totalled $30,000. The reaction from court officials was firm, and US Attorney King said, “This father and son duo exploited a national emergency for their own benefit, then tried to obstruct justice to avoid punishment”.
Fortunately, both culprits were found guilty. In the case of the father, Izzat Freitekh was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, three counts of money laundering, and one count of making false statements. In the case of the son, Tarik Freitekh was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of money laundering, and one count of falsifying and concealing material facts.
Both men are facing a lengthy time in prison as just the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering can be up to ten years in prison. This is excluding the multiple other offences they were found guilty of, and they will likely be both be dreading the day of their sentencing. While many people will have their own opinions on this case, it is hard to believe that the pair did not receive the justice they deserve. As Inspector in Charge Coke came out to say, “The CARES Act was intended to help people and businesses harmed by the pandemic, not to line the pockets of greedy individuals”.