Pandemic relief funds offered by governments in countries like Canada and the U.S. are designed to assist individuals and small businesses struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
The money can be spent on all sorts of things like rent, bills, groceries, and household supplies. For businesses, it’s been helping to keep doors open and employees on staff while profits waver.
But some have been abusing the system and treating the government cheques like lottery winnings with which to buy more toys.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has confirmed the arrest of Mustafa Quadiri from Irvine, Texas, who conned the relief system of US$5.1 in forgivable loans for “sham businesses,” and then used the cash to buy a trio of luxury vehicles.
Quadiri allegedly applied for the loans through three banks on behalf of four companies, none of which were operational. Once he’d received the cheques, he took himself on “lavish vacations,” covered some personal expenses, and picked up a 2020 Bentley Continental GT, a 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S, and a 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia.
Fine car decisions. Terrible life decisions.
Now the 38-year-old is facing six counts of money laundering, four counts of wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft for his shopping spree. The cars were also seized.
According to an Attorney’s Office spokesperson who chatted with the New York Times, Quadiri could face up to 302 years in prison.
If he does see the inside of a cell, perhaps he’ll have company. Last year, we reported on the Florida man who used his US$4M small business COVID relief funds to purchase a blue Lamborghini Huracan Evo for US$318,497 and then got caught when he crashed it.