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Portland Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud After Stealing Covid-Relief Funds | USAO-OR

Portland Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud After Stealing Covid-Relief Funds | USAO-OR

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Portland guy pleaded guilty these days for perpetrating a plan to steal money meant to aid compact companies through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Benjamin Tifekchian, 47, pleaded guilty to lender fraud.

In accordance to court files, in Might 2019, Tifekchian integrated Bencho Jewellery Inc. (Bencho) in the Condition of Oregon and served as the company’s sole proprietor and officer. Bencho by no means had any workforce and never ever generated far more than $500 in earnings in any calendar calendar year. 

Immediately after Congress handed the Coronavirus Help, Reduction, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act in March 2020 to offer emergency economical help to thousands and thousands of Individuals struggling the economic consequences brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tifekchian devised and perpetrated a plan to defraud the Small Small business Administration (SBA) by fraudulently making use of for CARES Act-licensed Financial Damage Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Safety Plan (PPP) financial loans on behalf of Bencho.

In EIDL programs submitted to SBA in April and August 2020, Tifekchian falsely claimed Bencho had generated as much as $758,000 in profits, had been running for 20 a long time, and utilized 12 folks. SBA denied the two applications. In June 2020, Tifekchian productively attained extra than $884,000 in PPP funding immediately after falsely declaring Bencho utilized 78 folks and had an average regular monthly payroll of $353,698. SBA assured the financial loan and paid Bank of America, the FDIC-insured personal loan issuer, additional than $26,000 in charges.

Tifekchian utilized the PPP bank loan to spend for gambling, vacations, and other personal costs. Suspecting fraud, Lender of The us froze the loan resources, but only following Tifekchian experienced put in extra than $68,000.

On July 13, 2021, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a two-depend indictment charging Tifekchian with bank fraud and wire fraud.

Tifekchian faces a greatest sentence of 30 many years in prison, a $1 million fine and 5 years’ supervised release. With his ongoing acceptance of responsibility, the federal government will endorse Tifekchian be sentenced to at least 21 months in jail. Tifekchian will be sentenced on April 18, 2022, right before U.S. District Court Judge Karin J. Immergut.

As portion of the plea arrangement, Tifekchian has agreed to pay $910,773.35 in restitution, together with $26,527 to SBA.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon built the announcement.

This scenario was investigated by the U.S. Treasury Inspector Basic for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the SBA Business office of Inspector Common, and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Lawyer Ryan W. Bounds is prosecuting the situation. 

Any one with data about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Justice Department’s National Middle for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF World wide web Criticism Form at: