A Leesburg, Virginia, man pleaded guilty to a federal bank fraud charge that he stole $2.5 million by obtaining Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans by saying he needed the money for what turned out to be fake payroll for fake employees at two real companies, the U.S. Department of Justice announced in a press release.
Didier K. Kindambu, 49, “carried out the scheme in connection with two businesses that he owns by creating fraudulent payroll documentation for each business, and then submitting that documentation in support of the PPP loan applications,” the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia stated in the release. “The fraudulent documentation represented that Kindambu’s businesses had dozens of employees with millions of dollars in payroll expenses, when in fact they had few, if any, employees.”
The release stated that Kindambu spent his ill-gotten gains on a Lexus car, a Cessna plane, tax obligations, the down-payment on a luxury home, living expenses, jewelry, clothing, accessories and shoes. Kindambu is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 4.
According to the release, in the most severe outcome, Kindambu could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison. The Associated Press, however, quoted his lawyer, Kevin Carroll, as having said Kindambu “looks forward to making the necessary restitution to the government and taxpayers.”
“At a time when countless families and business owners nationwide are struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing pandemic, Didier Kindambu committed a multimillion-dollar bank fraud by misappropriating COVID-19 taxpayer relief funds to pay for his lavish lifestyle,” said Raj Parekh, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, in the release. “Together with our law enforcement partners, this Office will continue to prosecute and bring to justice those who seek to exploit essential pandemic recovery programs and profit from the misfortunes of others for personal gain.”
Even as the government proceeds with cases such as Kindambu’s, the version of the PPP recently approved by lawmakers remains vulnerable to fraud. Authorities have charged dozens of individuals with perpetrating fraud related to the PPP.