LOS ANGELES – A Riverside County man who claimed to own a pothole repair business was found guilty today by a federal jury of fraud charges for using hundreds of thousands of dollars from the accident protection program. paychecks (PPP) for personal expenses such as luxury cars after securing a PPP loan of over $7 million on behalf of his business.
Oumar Sissoko, 59, of Temecula, was convicted of four counts of wire fraud.
According to evidence presented during his three-day trial, Sissoko secured a $7.25 million loan for his downtown Los Angeles-based company, Road Doctor California LLC, after submitting a PPP loan application in April 2020.
In the loan application, Sissoko claimed that Road Doctor was in the process of hiring 450 full-time employees and would have average monthly payroll costs of $2.9 million. When he applied for the loan, Sissoko acknowledged that the funds would be used to retain workers and maintain payrolls, or make mortgage interest payments, lease payments and utility payments.
In the days after the PPP loan was funded on May 1, 2020, Sissoko misappropriated hundreds of thousands of loan proceeds to use for impermissible purposes, including buying a Mercedes-Benz for 113,000 $, paying off a loan on a BMW and buying an Apple computer for over $5,000.
Illegal uses of the loan also included making a non-refundable down payment of approximately $100,000 for the purchase of a company located in New Hampshire and attempting to transfer approximately $150,000 to accounts located in the African nation of Mauritania associated with a mining exploration company for which Sissoko claimed to serve as CEO.
U.S. District Judge John F. Walter has scheduled a sentencing hearing for July 18, when Sissoko will face a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each of four counts of fraud. electronic.
Last month, a federal jury deadlocked on the charges against Sissoko and a mistrial was declared. The second trial resulted in today’s verdict.
The FBI, the Office of Inspector General of the Small Business Administration and the Office of Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation investigated the matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn S. Small of the Major Fraud Section and Justice Department Attorney Jason Covert of the Criminal Division Fraud Section are prosecuting the case. Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan S. Galatzan, chief of the Asset Forfeiture Section, is providing substantial assistance, including the seizure and forfeiture of two luxury automobiles purchased with PPP loan funds.
The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) is a federal law enacted in March 2020 and designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering from the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the sources of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in small business forgivable loans for job retention and certain other expenses, through the PPP. . In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.
Anyone with general information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Disaster Fraud Center hotline at (866 ) 720-5721 or through the NCDF’s online complaint form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.