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Indian-American techie held for $5.5 mn fraud

San Francisco: US authorities have arrested Seattle-based Mukund Mohan, a serial entrepreneur and former executive at Amazon and Microsoft, for allegedly defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with forged documents and embezzling more than $5.5 million in Covid-19 relief funds.

Mohan was arrested and charged by the US Attorney’s Office in the Fed PPP scam.

He submitted “fake and altered documents, including fake federal tax filings and altered incorporation documents” in support of PPP applications for six shell companies he owned.

He then transferred some of the money to his Robinhood brokerage account “for his personal benefit,” the US Attorney alleged in its complaint, reports The Seattle Times.

Mohan, who studied computer science in Mysore University and became director of engineering at Microsoft in the US, was very popular in the startup ecosystem in Bengaluru.

Mohan submitted forged documents to a lender of a company called Mahenjo Inc and showed that the shell firm “had dozens of employees and paid millions of dollars in employee wages and payroll taxes”.

“Mohan claimed to the lender, Peoples Bank, that the $431,250 PPP loan would retain 24 jobs, according to a database maintained by the federal agency overseeing the program,” the report mentioned.

Mohan actually purchased Mahenjo in May from a company that specializes in “aging” shell corporations.

The US Attorney also claimed that Mohan received $304,830 in PPP loans for another company called Zigantic LLC, which does not have a business license and has never paid employee wages or payroll taxes.

Mohan has promoted himself for years as a builder and marketer of successful tech firms, even giving a speech on “Budding Entrepreneurs” at the TEDxMSRIT summit at Ramaiah Institute of Technology in Bengaluru in 2013.

 

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