The owner of a troubled protein powder company, American Pure Whey, is the latest person indicted on PPP loan fraud charges.
PPP loans were guaranteed, forgivable loans guaranteed by the federal government in response to the COVID pandemic in 2020. They were approved as part of the CARES Act.
Protein Powder Company Owner Faces PPP Loan Fraud Charges
A federal grand jury in Newark, New Jersey, recently returned the indictment charging 40-year-old Indian national Abhishek Krishnan with a multi-million-dollar PPP loan fraud scheme.
Krishnan last lived in Wake County, North Carolina, but submitted numerous fraudulent PPP loan applications to federally insured banks after returning to India.
Falsified Business Expenses
Some of Krishnan’s fraudulent loan applications were on behalf of supposed companies that had not been registered as business entities. Allegedly, the applications included false statements about the number of employees at the companies, as well as falsified payroll expenses and tax filings.
Krishnan allegedly used another person’s identity without their permission to file some of the applications. In total, Krishnan is alleged to have submitted a minimum of 17 PPP loan applications, seeking more than $8.2 million. Court documents show he received in excess of $3.3 million in PPP loan money, which he is accused of then laundering.
Wire Fraud, Laundering and Identity Theft
Krishnan is charged with two counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
He could get 20 years in prison on each of the wire fraud and money laundering charges and another 2 years for each of the identity theft charges.
Additional Separate Charges
Krishnan has been separately charged with theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. These separate charges relate to his alleged receipt of unemployment insurance benefits funded by the federal government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Krishnan was also charged in 2019 with mail fraud, introducing adulterated and misbranded foods into interstate commerce, as well as money laundering related to the sale of protein powders by his company, American Pure Whey. Those charges invoked a 43-count superseding indictment which was returned by a federal grand jury, again in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The charges were brought after an investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
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