Parker Man Indicted for Fraudulently Obtaining $2 Million in COVID-19 Relief Funds

A federal grand jury has indicted Tarek Kassem, a 63-year-old resident of Parker, Colorado, on charges of wire fraud and money laundering. Kassem is accused of fraudulently applying for and receiving nearly $2 million from COVID-19 relief programs over a three-year period. The indictment alleges that he obtained over $1.4 million in Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the Small Business Administration and more than $300,000 in Payroll Protection Program funds using three different business names.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado, Kassem is alleged to have used the majority of the funds for his personal benefit, despite falsely certifying that the money would be used for eligible business expenses. The fraudulent activities took place between March 2020 and at least March 2021, during the height of the pandemic.

The CARES Act, implemented at the start of the pandemic, aimed to provide emergency financial assistance to individuals and businesses affected by the economic impact of COVID-19. The Paycheck Protection Program, created under the CARES Act, offered loans to small businesses to retain workers and maintain payroll. Additionally, the Small Business Administration provided Economic Injury Disaster Loans to eligible businesses facing significant financial disruptions due to the pandemic.

Kassem’s case is one among many instances of improper use of COVID-19 relief benefits. The hasty implementation of relief programs, with limited safeguards against fraud, allowed opportunistic individuals to exploit the system. A recent investigation revealed that the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment paid out over $73 million in likely fraudulent unemployment claims between March 2020 and April 2021. Nationally, if the estimated 10% fraud rate applies to all Paycheck Protection Program funds distributed, it could mean up to $1.5 billion was stolen from the program in Colorado alone.

The investigation into Kassem’s fraudulent activities was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Individuals with information regarding attempted fraud related to COVID-19 relief programs are encouraged to report it to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline.

Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. This is absolutely disgusting! It’s sickening to think that someone would stoop so low as to commit wire fraud and money laundering. These types of crimes not only harm individuals who are directly affected, but they also erode trust in our financial systems. It’s disheartening to see that there are people out there who are willing to exploit others for their own personal gain. I hope justice is served and that Tarek Kassem faces the full consequences of his actions. We need to send

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