Seattle-area tech exec charged with COVID-relief fraud for allegedly seeking $5.5M in PPP loans

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Mukund Mohan, a Seattle-area tech executive who spent time at Amazon and Microsoft, has been charged by federal prosectors with seeking over $5.5 million in loans through the U.S. government’s Paycheck Protection Program and laundering the proceeds.

According to a U.S. Department of Justice news release and a criminal complaint which was unsealed on Thursday, Mohan was taken into custody in the Western District of Washington after being charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

Mohan, of Clyde Hill, Wash., is currently the chief technology officer at BuildDirect, a Vancouver, B.C.-based home improvement online marketplace, according to the complaint and his LinkedIn profile. He previously was director of product management at Amazon Business. And he was director of Microsoft Ventures and the director of engineering for Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise business.

According to the DOJ, Mohan allegedly submitted at least eight fraudulent PPP loan applications on behalf of six different companies to federally insured financial institutions. The complaint alleges that, in support of the fraudulent loan applications, Mohan made numerous false and misleading statements about the companies’ respective business operations and payroll expenses.

The charges were announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.

The PPP was established as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a federal law enacted on March 29. The authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses was established through the PPP.  In April, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.

Businesses must use PPP loan proceeds for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.

In May, a Seattle-area software engineer at the ride-hailing company Lyft was also charged with attempting to defraud the CARES Act.

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