On January 2, 2023, the IRS Criminal Investigation department announced the agency’s top 10 cases for calendar year. This is not a list a fraudster wants to be on! These were the most prominent and high-profile investigations of the year according to IRS-CI Chief Jim Lee where “defendants brazenly tried to victimize others through fake investment schemes or steal money from government coffers.” Rounding the list at number ten is Elias Eldabbagh of Washington D.C.
From July 2020 through May 2021, Eldabbagh used his company, Alias Systems, LLC, to fraudulently apply for at least 25 COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling more than $30 million. He also submitted at least four false EIDL applications totaling $950,000. During the course of his scheme, Eldabbagh used a stolen identity to disguise his ownership of Alias Systems and used the same stolen identity to submit the applications. To support these fraudulent applications, Eldabbagh used additional stolen identities, stolen tax returns and stolen financial records from a Washington, D.C. consulting company.
In total, Eldabbagh successfully stole $2,385,000 from the PPP and EIDL programs. He wired the proceeds of his scheme to thirteen separate banks under his ownership. Using some of the fraud proceeds, Eldabbagh also conducted over 2,000 transactions involving at least 43 different cryptocurrencies. Right before getting caught by the IRS, Eldabbagh purchased a Tesla Model 3 too, which seems to be what every fraudster did this pandemic.
Elias Eldabbagh was sentenced, on September 20, 2022, to 10 years in prison.
Great job by the IRS-Criminal Investigation Unit for bringing this fraud to justice.
Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on article “Feds foil DC man’s $31 million COVID-19 relief scheme” published by Fox 5 DC on September 21, 2023
A D.C. man who attempted to steal more than $31 million in CARES Act funds reserved for struggling businesses during the pandemic will now spend the next 10 years in prison. A judge handed down the sentence Tuesday to 31-year-old Elias Eldabbagh in a D.C. District Court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
Authorities said the D.C. native used stolen identities, stolen tax returns, and stolen financial records from a local consulting company to fraudulently apply for at least 25 Paycheck Protection Program loans and at least four false Economic Injury Disaster Loans.