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There is, for all intents and purposes, no more PPP money left. America is getting back to work, albeit not as quickly and gratefully as some people might like. It was, on the whole, a messy, slapdash, confusing affair, as evidenced by the paycheck protection afforded the folks at the Justice Department digging through the aftermath.

The investigation, led by the Justice Department's civil division, is examining whether Kabbage and other fintech companies miscalculated how much aid borrowers were entitled to from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) due to confusion over how to account for payroll taxes, the three people said…. Lenders have said they were under enormous pressure to lend vast sums of money to millions of businesses quickly, while having to keep up with ever-changing PPP rules.

Did it work? Generally speaking, who the hell knows? In specific cases, definitely. Like, say, the specific case of Mustafa Qadiri of Irvine, Calif. While his chapter of the massive, multi-volume history of fraud, actual and alleged, with public bailout funds doesn’t include enough of it to require an airplane hangar to house the proceeds, and ultimately didn’t last very long, it certainly was fun for him while it did.

Federal prosecutors said Mr. Qadiri’s efforts to obtain federal loans started in late May 2020 and netted him nearly $5.1 million by early June. Mr. Qadiri is accused of using that money to go on a spending spree that included buying a Ferrari, a Lamborghini and a Bentley and paying for “lavish vacations,” all of which are prohibited under the Payment Protection Program, prosecutors said.

Mr. Qadiri submitted applications to three different banks for Covid-19 relief funds in order to help four companies based in California that, in fact, were not in operation, prosecutors said. In addition to submitting fraudulent company information and “altered bank account records,” Mr. Qadiri is also accused of using someone else’s name, Social Security number and signature on the applications, according to a statement from prosecutors.

So, fun, yes. Worth it? Eh, probably not.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said that if Mr. Qadiri was convicted, the charges against him carried a combined maximum penalty of 302 years in prison.

Covid Relief Funds Fueled a High-Performance Shopping Spree, Prosecutors Say [NYT]
U.S. Justice Department probing Kabbage, fintechs over PPP loan calculations –sources [Reuters]
I Came Close To Dying: Wall Street’s Most Photographed Man Is Ready For Normalcy [NPR]

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