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N.J. man who got $5.6M COVID loan for phony company sentenced to prison

N.J. man who got $5.6M COVID loan for phony company sentenced to prison
Written by Publishing Team

On Tuesday, a New Jersey man who took out a fraudulent COVID-19 loan worth millions from the federal government near the start of the coronavirus pandemic was sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

The US Attorney for New Jersey said in a statement that Azhar Sarwar Rana, 31, of Newton, will also have to pay about $5.58 million and serve five years of supervised release after completing his time in federal prison.

Prosecutors said that Rana requested a $10 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program for his bogus company Azhar Sarwar Rana when he submitted his application on April 6, 2020 using false payroll reports and tax documents for the IRS.

Brenna ended up receiving $5,677,473 in May 2020 in exchange for what he claimed was a real estate developer, according to court documents. Prosecutors said that the minimum wages paid by the shell company in 2020 were mostly to people whose Social Security numbers did not match their names submitted.

Rana then used the money for personal expenses such as paying $13,000 to a BMW dealer. He also traded millions of dollars in securities and sent money to accounts in the names of family members – in Pakistan and elsewhere – according to shipping documents.

Authorities arrested Rana on December 12, 2020, hours before the scheduled boarding of the plane to Pakistan he had booked earlier that day.

The PPP loans are part of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act and are meant to be used to cover payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.

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Jeff Goldman can be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com.

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