NJ: Cliffside Park lawyer started bogus companies, got $ 9 million in COVID loans, bought mansion
A Cliffside Park lawyer scammed lenders out of $ 9 million in COVID relief loans by creating cases for bogus businesses he claimed to control, then spent the money on a $ 1 million house in Cresskill and millions more in stock market investments, the authorities accused.
Jae H. Choi, 48, “fabricated the existence of hundreds of employees, manipulated banking and tax records and falsified driver’s licenses on claims,” said US prosecutor Craig Carpenito.
Choi told lenders he pays hundreds of employees a monthly salary of $ 3 million at non-existent companies, Carpenito said.
Lenders, in turn, gave him $ 9 million in federal COVID-19 emergency relief funds for struggling small businesses, the US attorney said.
Choi used the money to buy a house in Cresskill, pay $ 30,000 in renovations and other improvements, and invest millions more in the stock market through an account held in his wife’s name. Carpenito said.
The Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted in late March, is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans struggling economically because of the pandemic of COVID-19.
One source of the money is $ 349 billion in small business forgivable loans for job maintenance and certain other expenses.
Carpenito credited the IRS – Criminal Investigation, US Postal Inspection Service inspectors, the Inspector General’s Small Business Administration Office, and the Inspector General’s Social Security Administration Office.
New Jersey District Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Macurdy and Attorney General Andrew Tyler are handling the case.
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