A North Carolina man allegedly tried to steal $6 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for coronavirus relief by establishing fake companies with “Game of Thrones” names.
Tristan Bishop Pan, 38, was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions, according to a statement this week from the Justice Department.
Pan allegedly submitted numerous fraudulent PPP loan applications, including on behalf of entities named White Walker, Khaleesi and The Night’s Watch.
The loan applications included fake documents, including falsified tax filings, that cumulatively sought more than $6.1 million in loans.
He received more than $1.7 million in benefits after two PPP loan applications — to Pan Insurance Agency and White Walker — were accepted. The federal government was able to seize some of the benefits but it is unclear how much.
Congress in March enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to aid businesses during the health crisis and subsequent economic downturn. It provided employers loans that will be forgiven if the money is used to retain workers.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) in a July report said 4.9 million loans were made through June 30, totaling about $521 billion. The agency said the loans are supporting about 51 million jobs.
Several people have been charged for allegedly filing false or misleading applications.
A defense contractor in Hawaii was charged this week with bank fraud and money laundering for stealing more than $12.8 million in PPP money.
NFL player Josh Bellamy was arrested last month, accused of being part of a scheme to obtain $24 million in PPP loans. Authorities said the New York Jets wide receiver obtained $1.2 million in forgivable loans for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC. According to prosecutors, Bellamy used $104,000 of the PPP loan to purchase luxury goods at retailers such as Dior and Gucci, and another $62,774 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Florida.