Texas tax company owner pleads guilty to $ 23 million loan fraud scheme
An owner of a tax preparation business in North Texas, specifically Dallas, has pleaded guilty to a loan fraud scheme. He admitted to orchestrating the scheme which amounted to $ 23 million.
The man is Steven Jalloul, and he orchestrated the program using the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a COVID-19 relief program to help struggling business owners, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the North District from Texas. This is not his first conviction related to tax fraud.
Neighbors suspected something was wrong
Investigators have not revealed how they learned about the scheme orchestrated by the 43-year-old Liberian national. However, Fox 4 News reported that neighbors noticed something was wrong when they saw him driving around expensive cars. They added that Jalloul wore high-end clothes.
One of Jalloul’s neighbors has said he hopes the former will get what he deserves. Fox 4 News quoted the neighbor as saying, “Because it was the pandemic and you have people trying to keep their heads above water.”
He is an accountant and his company’s listed address is inside an office building in North Dallas. He lives in an apartment complex in Garland.
Details of the published program
Fox 4 News reported that federal prosecutors said Jalloul’s program began when the federal government rolled out the funds for the P3, and amounted to an allocation of $ 350 billion. PPP is helping struggling businesses pay and keep employees by lending money during the pandemic. Jalloul then inflated the number of employees the companies had to get more money from the government.
Jalloul tried to get $ 23 million on behalf of more than 160 employers. Of the 160 loans it processed, 97 were approved. He obtained a total of $ 12 million for these clients and he received nearly $ 1 million in fees.
It is not known, however, if his customers knew that he was inflating the number of their employees. The Small Business Administration has yet to decide whether it will take back some of the $ 12 million given to 97 companies.
Not the first clash with the law
This is not Jalloul’s first run-in with the law. He had previously been convicted and sentenced to six years for a previous conviction for tax evasion. It was January 2020, and he was on bail when he committed the last fraud.
Jalloul could face up to ten years behind bars for his latest fraud scheme.