The owner of a purported California road maintenance company is facing multiple charges after federal prosecutors claim he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars, which he allegedly spent on luxury cars and other high-priced goods, after obtaining more than $7.25 million in funds through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Oumar Sissoko, 59, of Temecula, California, is slated to make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Riverside, California, on Thursday. He was taken into custody by FBI agents on Wednesday after a grand jury indicted him on four counts of wire fraud on April 13.
According to the indictment, Sissoko obtained a $7.25 million loan for his company, Road Doctor California LLC, after submitting a PPP loan application with JPMorgan Chase Bank in April 2020, claiming his pothole repair company was in the process of hiring 450 full-time employees and would have average monthly payroll expenses of $2.9 million.
Court filings state that when Sissoko applied for the loan, he acknowledged the funds would be used to pay employees, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.
After JPMorgan approved his PPP loan in May 2020, prosecutors allege he went on a personal spending spree, purchasing a luxury car for over $100,000, paying off the loan on a different luxury car he owned and spending $6,000 on a personal computer.
“The impermissible uses also included a nonrefundable down payment of approximately $100,000 to purchase a company located in New Hampshire and the attempted transmission of approximately $150,000 to accounts in the African nation of Mauritania associated with a minerals exploration company for which Sissoko purports to serve as CEO,” the Department of Justice said in a news release on Wednesday.
The DOJ didn’t indicate what happened to the rest of the $7.25 million in PPP loan funds Sissoko received.
According to a document filed with the California secretary of state’s office, Sissoko registered his company, Road Doctor California, in December 2019. However, he used the address of a post office in Los Angeles as the company’s headquarters. Sissoko claims he had 20 employees when he filed his PPP loan application, but there’s no website or phone number listed for his pothole repair business. There’s also no mention of owning Road Doctor California on Sissoko’s LinkedIn profile.
Forgivable loans through the PPP, administered by the Small Business Administration, started out with $350 billion in the CARES Act signed by former President Donald Trump in late March 2020 and were reupped in April 2020 with an additional $320 billion. The third round of funding, $284 billion in forgivable PPP loans through the SBA, opened up to lenders in January.
Sissoko faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the four counts.
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