Pharmacist Gets 11 Years In $27M COVID Fraud Plot

Courthouse News reports:

A Southern California pharmacist was sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison after a jury convicted him of trying to seek $27 million in pandemic relief loans for companies that had no employees. Robert Benlevi, 53, of Encino was given a 135-month sentence Tuesday. He had been found guilty this past March of multiple counts of bank fraud, making false statements to financial institutions, and conducting monetary transactions with criminally derived funds.

Between April and June 2020, Benlevi submitted 27 Payroll Protection Program loan applications to four banks on behalf of eight companies. In each application, he sought a $1 million forgivable PPP loan guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. In his fraudulent applications, he claimed that each of the companies had 100 employees and $400,000 in monthly payroll expenses.

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