Man accused in $24M PPP scam used money to buy cars, pay off mortgages, feds say

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Thursday, March 25, 2021
Texas tops the nation in CARES Act fraud
The video above breaks down the previous fraud cases regarding the CARES Act as well as what's going on now with funding that is supposed to help small businesses struggling during the pandemic.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A man in the Dallas area pleaded guilty to orchestrating a $24.8 million PPP scam and using the money to buy luxury cars and homes.

According to the Department of Justice, 55-year-old Dinesh Sah of Coppell, Texas, submitted 15 fraudulent applications to eight different lenders seeking approximately $24.8 million as part of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Sah claimed the businesses had numerous employees and hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll expenses when none of the businesses had employees or paid wages consistent with the amounts on the applications.

READ ALSO: Houston woman accused of buying homes, Land Rover and Chanel items in alleged $3.7M PPP scam

The Justice Department lists some of the purchases as nearly $725,000 for homes in Katy and Cypress, and $78,000 for a 2020 Land Rover.

Authorities said Sah also used fake tax filings and bank statements.

Sah received over $17 million in PPP loan money and used it to buy multiple homes in Texas and pay off the mortgages on other homes in California. He even purchased several luxury cars, including a Bentley convertible, a Corvette Stingray, and a Porsche Macan.

Sah also sent millions in international money transfers.

"The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to aid struggling business owners, not to line the pockets of crafty profiteers," said acting U.S. attorney Prerak Shah of the Northern District of Texas. "Even as fellow businesspeople tried desperately to procure the funds they needed to keep their business afloat, Sah dipped into federal coffers to fund his lavish lifestyle. The Justice Department is committed to protecting the PPP from fraud and deceit."

RELATED: Texas tops the nation in CARES Act fraud

Sah pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. As part of his guilty plea, Sah agreed to forfeit, among other property, eight homes, the luxury vehicles and more than $7.2 million in fraudulent proceeds that the government has seized to date.

A date for his sentencing has not yet been scheduled. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

SEE ALSO: Man accused of stealing $1.6 million in CARES Act money to buy cars and take trips

Lee Price III is accused of spending $1.6 million in CARES Act money on a Lamborghini Urus, which starts at a price of about $207,000, and a Rolex watch. He also allegedly spent thousands at strip clubs, among other things.