- Associated Press - Friday, November 13, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A Virginia man was sentenced Friday to a year in prison and two years of supervised release for defrauding the COVID-19 relief program, federal prosecutors said.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release that Tarik Jaafar, 43, conspired with his wife, Monika Magdalena Jaworska, to create four shell companies that actually conducted no business and existed only to pull off the scheme.

Court documents indicate that from April 13 to May 6, Jaafar and his wife applied for 18 separate Paycheck Protection Plan loans in the name of the four shell companies valued at approximately $6.6 million, saying they needed the loans to pay their employees’ salaries. Jaafar and his wife fraudulently induced banks to distribute approximately $1.4 million in loans that they intended to use for their personal benefit, according to the documents.

On June 20, Jaafar and his wife were arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport as they attempted to flee to Poland, authorities said. The majority of the funds were recovered by the banks and by law enforcement. On Aug. 25, Jaafar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Jaworska pleaded guilty on Sept. 3 and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 20.

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