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Justice Department charges man in $27 million COVID stimulus fraud scheme

Suspect reported filed nearly 30 claims last year at outset of pandemic.

Updated: July 24, 2021 - 1:52pm

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The Justice Department has filed criminal charges against a man for reportedly defrauding the government out of nearly $30 million in coronavirus stimulus payments.

Los Angeles resident Robert Benlevi allegedly “submitted 27 bank loan applications to four banks between April and June 2020 on behalf of eight companies solely owned by Benlevi,” the Justice Department said in a press release this week.

Benlevi reportedly sought a total of $27 million in forgivable loans from the Small Business Administration by claiming that “each of his companies had 100 employees and average monthly payroll of $400,000, even though he knew that the companies did not have any employees or payroll expenses.” 

Benlevi, if convicted, could face several decades in prison for the charges.

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