A tax preparation company owner in North Texas, specifically in Dallas, pleaded guilty to a loan fraud scheme. He admitted that he orchestrated the scheme that amounted to $23 million.
The man is Steven Jalloul, and he orchestrated the scheme using the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a COVID-19 relief program to help struggling business owners, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District Texas. This is not his first conviction related to tax fraud.
Neighbors Suspected Something Was Off
Investigators did not release how they knew about the scheme that the 43-year-old Liberian national orchestrated. However, Fox 4 News reported that the neighbors noticed something was off when they saw him driving around expensive cars. They added that Jalloul wore high-end clothing.
One of the neighbors of Jalloul said he hopes that the former will get what he deserves. Fox 4 News quoted the neighbor saying, “Because it was the pandemic and you’ve got folks that are trying to keep their heads above water.”
He is an accountant, and the listed address of his company is inside a North Dallas office building. He lives at an apartment complex in Garland.
Details Of The Scheme Released
Fox 4 News reported that the federal prosecutors said Jalloul’s scheme started when the federal government rolled out the funds for the PPP, and it amounted to a $350 billion allocation. The PPP helps struggling businesses to pay and keep their employees by lending out money during the pandemic. Jalloul then inflated the number of employees that companies had to get more money from the government.
Jalloul tried to get $23 million on behalf of more than 160 employers. Of the 160 loans he processed, 97 were approved. He got a total of $12 million for these clients, and he got paid almost $1 million in fees.
It is unclear, however, if his clients knew he was inflating the number of their employees. The Small Business Administration is yet to decide if it will take back portions of the $12 million given to the 97 businesses.
Not The First Run-In With The Law
This is not Jalloul’s first run-in with the law. He was already convicted and sentenced to a six-year sentence for a previous tax fraud conviction. This was in January 2020, and he was on pre-trial release when he committed the latest fraud.
Jalloul could face up to ten years behind bars for his latest fraud scheme.