HOUSTON – A Texas man has been charged with federal bank fraud and making false statements to a financial institution in the Southern District of Florida. Investigators said Uzoamaka Leonard Ohaebosim, 46, lied about his movie company’s payroll expenses and obtained $1.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds.
Ohaebosim was arrested in Houston and made his first appearance in federal court Friday. Authorities have seized the money.
Investigators said Ohaebosim submitted a PPP loan application that made numerous false and misleading statements regarding his company’s payroll expenses. He allegedly provided a false IRS payroll tax form indicating that his company, Spite the Movie LLC had more than 100 employees who had received wages of approximately $983,000 with taxes withheld of approximately $122,000 in the first quarter of 2020.
According to officials, in reality, (Spite the Movie) had not paid these employees and had not filed this form with the IRS. Relying on this false IRS form, the financial institution in South Florida approved and funded approximately $1.2 million in PPP loans," investigators wrote in a press release.
The PPP program was designed for qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive loans from the federal government to help with job retention and certain other expenses. The CARES Act authorized up to $349 billion while Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.
A number of Americans have been caught trying to defraud the PPP program.
A Houston man is accused of taking more than $1.6 million from the program and spending the money lavishly, including purchasing a $233,000 Lamborghini Urus, an $85,000 Ford F-350 pickup truck and a $14,000 Rolex.
Another Houston woman is accused of fraudulently obtaining more than $1.9 million from the program. While another Texan man is facing serious charges after fraudulently seeking $ million in COVID-19 relief funds.