WASHINGTON, D.C. (WRIC) — Last week, a man in Michigan was convicted of wire fraud and money laundering in an effort to steal more than $4.1 million in funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Court documents and evidence presented to a federal jury in Detroit revealed that 41-year-old Johnny Ho, of Novi, Michigan, had engaged in a conspiracy to submit fraudulent PPP and EIDL loan applications to get COVID-19 relief funds he was not authorized to receive. Both the PPP and EIDL programs — administered at the federal level through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — are meant to help small businesses and their employees that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the evidence, Ho, the owner of Diva Nails & Spa III LLC in Northville, submitted inflated payroll data and other falsified information on loan applications. Ho and his co-conspirators submitted 29 different fraudulent PPP and EIDL applications for 16 businesses that totaled more than $4.1 million. Ho personally contributed two fraudulent PPP and EIDL loan applications seeking nearly $350,000 in funds.
On Thursday, June 9, the jury convicted Ho of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each wire fraud charge and up to 10 years for money laundering. His sentencing is set for Sept. 27.
According to the DOJ’s release, the FBI led the investigation of this case with the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General. The COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force was founded in 2021 to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud, the release read.