Richmond man charged in alleged COVID-19 relief fraud scheme

Fort Bend Star, By Stefan Modrich, November 21, 2020

A Richmond resident is among seven alleged participants in a scheme to obtain approximately $16 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to a Nov. 17 news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Rifat Bajwa, 51, of Richmond; Mauricio Navia, 41, of Katy; Amir Aqeel, 52, and Pardeep Basra, 51, both of Houston; Mayer Misak, 40, of Cypress; and Richard Reuth, 57, of Spring were all charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The indictment also charges Aqeel with three counts of money laundering.

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