Fort Bend County landlords charged with stealing CARES Act funds

RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- A Fort Bend County grand jury indicted two local landlords for offenses related to a scheme to defraud Fort Bend County of CARES Act money.

Roger Kurian and Matthew John, owners of One Point Investments LLC, are accused of filing applications for rental assistance using the names of their tenants with fraudulent apartment numbers, without their tenants' knowledge. One application was allegedly made by the landlords in the name of a legitimate renter who the landlords were suing to evict, despite the fact they had been receiving CARES Act rental assistance for that renter.

Other businesses owned and registered to Kurian and John also applied for, and received, small business emergency assistance grant funds from Fort Bend County. The paperwork submitted for those applications also included fraudulent documents, authorities say. Records confirmed that John received $37,958 in proceeds, and Kurian received $151,820.

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Payroll Protection Program loans were paid out to help small businesses in duress during the pandemic, but six Houston area residents are accused of fraudulently taking those funds for personal gain, including spending a portion of the money on luxury cars.

Kurian and John are charged with tampering with a governmental record, forgery of a governmental record and theft of more than $30,00 but less than $150,000. Additionally, Kurian is also charged with two counts of forgery of a governmental record and tampering with a witness.

"These crimes are not victimless. They divert money designated to assist those residents and businesses that are experiencing severe financial distress caused by COVID-19," said District Attorney Brian M. Middleton.

He warned anyone considering similar schemes to illegally obtain CARES Act funds from Fort Bend County that the DA's office will prosecute these offenses.

Information concerning CARES Act fraud should be reported to the hotline at 281-63-FRAUD (281-633-7283).

SEE MORE: Texas tops the nation in CARES Act fraud

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