In a case of COVID-19 relief related fraud, a Collin County dentist has been sentenced to federal prison for wire fraud. Brian Bui, 43, pleaded guilty to obtaining at least two Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans by submitting falsified application paperwork and fabricating supporting documentation. As a result, he obtained approximately $1.89 million in forgivable loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Bui used the funds for non-business, personal investments. He has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,491,305.97. This case highlights the ongoing efforts by the Department of Justice to combat pandemic-related fraud and protect the integrity of relief programs.
Collin County Dentist Sentenced for COVID-19 Relief Related Fraud
In a recent case in Collin County, Texas, a local dentist has been sentenced for engaging in COVID-19 relief related fraud. The dentist, Brian Bui, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. The sentencing took place in the Eastern District of Texas and was announced by U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs.
According to court documents, Bui used his dentistry business to obtain two Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans by submitting false application paperwork. He fabricated supporting documentation and lied about the number of employees and monthly payroll expenses. As a result of his actions, he obtained approximately $1.89 million in forgivable loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Bui then misused the funds for non-business, personal investments.
Sentencing and Charges
Brian Bui, the Collin County dentist, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for his involvement in COVID-19 relief related fraud. The sentencing was handed down by U.S. District Judge Sean D. Jordan in the Eastern District of Texas. Bui pleaded guilty to wire fraud, admitting to submitting false application paperwork and fabricating supporting documentation for PPP loans.
Investigation and Prosecution
The case against Brian Bui was thoroughly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The investigation uncovered his fraudulent activities in obtaining and misusing funds from the PPP loans. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anand Varadarajan led the prosecution of the case, ensuring that Bui was held accountable for his actions.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was established under the CARES Act to provide financial relief to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program aimed to help businesses keep their employees on payroll and cover other eligible expenses, such as rent and utilities. PPP loans were guaranteed by the SBA and had the potential to be fully forgivable if certain requirements were met.
Misuse of Funds
Brian Bui misused the funds obtained through the PPP loans for non-business purposes and personal investments. The funds were intended to help support his dentistry business during the pandemic, but instead, Bui diverted them for personal gain. The misuse of funds in this manner is a serious offense and undermines the purpose of the PPP program.
As part of his sentencing, Brian Bui was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,491,305.97. This restitution order is meant to compensate for the funds that were fraudulently obtained and misused. By ordering restitution, the court aims to hold Bui accountable for his actions and ensure that the victims of his fraud are repaid to the fullest extent possible.
Establishment of COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force
In May 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to combat and prevent fraud related to the pandemic. This task force brings together resources from various agencies to investigate and prosecute those engaged in fraudulent activities, both domestically and internationally. The task force works closely with agencies involved in administering relief programs to identify and prevent fraud. Its goal is to enhance efforts to combat pandemic-related fraud and ensure that financial relief reaches those who genuinely need it.
If you have any information about attempted fraud involving COVID-19, it is important to report it. The Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline can be reached at 866-720-5721. Alternatively, you can submit a complaint online through the NCDF Web Complaint Form on the Department of Justice’s website. Reporting fraud helps authorities identify and investigate individuals involved in fraudulent activities, protecting the integrity of relief programs and ensuring that funds are allocated properly.
Department’s Response to the Pandemic
The Department of Justice has been actively responding to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its efforts include establishing task forces, such as the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force, to combat and prevent fraud related to the pandemic. The Department’s response also involves coordinating with other government agencies to ensure effective administration of relief programs and prosecuting individuals engaged in fraudulent activities. By taking swift action against those who exploit the pandemic for personal gain, the Department aims to safeguard public trust and ensure that relief reaches those who need it most.
The sentencing of Brian Bui for COVID-19 relief related fraud highlights the seriousness with which the justice system addresses fraudulent activities during times of crisis. The misuse of funds intended to help struggling businesses and individuals undermines the purpose of relief programs and takes resources away from those who genuinely need assistance. Through its investigation and prosecution, the Department of Justice sends a clear message that fraudulent activities related to the pandemic will not be tolerated. By establishing task forces and enhancing efforts to combat and prevent fraud, the Department aims to protect the public and ensure that relief reaches those who are most in need.