North Carolina father, son jailed for embezzling $1.7 million COVID relief

North Carolina father, son jailed for embezzling $1.7 million COVID relief

A North Carolina man and his son have been sentenced to prison for submitting fraudulent loan applications seeking $1.7 million in COVID-19 relief.

In accordance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Izzat Freitekh, 57, of Waxhaw, North Carolina, and his son Tarik Freitekh, 35, of Glendale, California, submitted applications for forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) debts.

According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice, Tarik received a sentence of over 7 years in prison and Izzat received a four-year jail term.

The DOJ said the Freitekhs secured $1.7 million by submitting fraudulent PPP applications for companies owned by the senior, Izzat. The companies included La Shish Kabob, La Shish Kabob Catering, Green Apple Catering, and Aroma Packaging.

The Freitekhs, according to the DOJ, falsified information when it came to the number of employees and payroll expenses.

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Once they got the money, the DOJ added, the Freitekhs made several unlawful monetary transactions; this included making payments to family members in the amount of $30,000.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), IRS Criminal Investigation in Charlotte, and U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration investigated the case.

Attorneys Joshua DeBold and Matt Kahn of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Odulio of the Western District of North Carolina prosecuted the case.

Since the establishment of the CARES Act, the DOJ has prosecuted nearly 200 defendants in more than 121 criminal cases, seizing over $78 million in cash proceeds obtained with fraudulent PPP funds, the DOJ said.

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