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United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas

09/16/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/16/2021 13:20

Collin County Wedding Planner Sentenced for COVID Relief Fraud

SHERMAN, Texas - A Murphy man has been sentenced to federal prison for perpetrating a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $3.3 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Nicholas Ganjei, Acting U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Texas and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division today.

Fahad Shah, 45, pleaded guilty on May 19, 2021, to wire fraud and was sentenced to 31 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III.

'Stealing limited COVID relief funds is the very definition of stealing from the less fortunate,' said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. 'Every dollar that was stolen and extravagantly spent in this case was one less dollar that went to a struggling business scrambling to meet its payroll obligations to employees. The Department of Justice and its partners will do everything in their power to investigate and prosecute those that would deign to steal these limited funds and stall national recovery efforts.'

According to court documents, Shah sought approximately $3.3 million in PPP funds by claiming that his family's business, WBF Weddings by Farah Inc. (WBF), employed more than 100 individuals and paid millions of dollars in compensation to those employees. In actuality, WBF had no employees aside from Shah and his wife. Based on Shah's false representations and forged documents, an SBA-approved lender provided over $1.5 million in PPP loan funds to Shah. Shah used the funds for personal gain contrary to program's terms. He paid off his home mortgage and purchased two Teslas and a Mercedes, among other items.

Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas Ganjei for the Eastern District of Texas; Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of the U.S. Small Business Administration - Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG); Special Agent in Charge Catherine Huber of the Federal Housing Finance Agency - Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG); Inspector General Jay N. Lerner of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation - Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG); Special Agent in Charge Christopher J. Altemus, Jr., of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Dallas Field Office; and Inspector General J. Russell George of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) made the announcement.

The SBA-OIG, FHFA-OIG, FDIC-OIG, IRS-CI, and TIGTA investigated the case.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Coan and Bob Wells of the Eastern District of Texas and Trial Attorneys Louis Manzo and Della Sentilles of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section.

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