Owner Of North Texas Wedding Planning Company Charged With Coronavirus-Relief Fraud

Owner Of North Texas Wedding Planning Company Charged With Coronavirus-Relief Fraud

Federal authorities said a Murphy, Texas business owner fraudulently sought more than $3 million in Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Fahad Shah, 44, was charged in an indictment unsealed Tuesday with wire fraud, false statements to a financial institution and money laundering for his alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the CARES Act.

Shah was charged with three counts of wire fraud, one count of false statements to a bank and four counts of money laundering.

He was arrested Tuesday morning and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christine A. Nowak of the Eastern District of Texas.

The indictment alleges Shah submitted fraudulent applications for more $3 million in PPP loans to two different SBA-approved lenders filed under the name of WBF Weddings by Farah Inc.

In these applications, Shah claimed to have more than 120 employees earning wages when, in fact, no employees worked for his business at the time, the indictment alleges.

The indictment also alleges that Shah submitted fraudulent documentation in support of his applications. Shah ultimately received over $1.5 million in PPP loan funds and used the funds primarily for personal purposes, including purchasing a Tesla, personal investments, and home mortgage payments, the indictment alleges.

The CARES Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.