Bonding Behind Bars

274

A typical father-and-son activity might include watching sports, taking a hike, or throwing a ball around. Not so for Izzat Freitekh, 55, of Waxhaw, North Carolina, and son Tarik Freitekh, 33, of Glendale, Calif. They had a different idea of what constitutes a family-son bonding experience. They conspired to receive $1.7 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans they did not qualify for, nor deserve.

The duo submitted multiple applications for PPP loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act under Izzat Freitekh’s businesses including La Shish Kabob, La Shish Kabob Catering, Green Apple Catering, and Aroma Packaging. In the applications, the number of employees and payroll expenses were falsified. After receiving the loan distributions, they disbursed grant payments of approximately $30,000 to family members. (How generous of them to share the government’s money with their relatives.)

Apparently, the younger Freitekh is no stranger to an opulent lifestyle. This businessman and producer apparently has a $7 million mansion and drives luxurious cars. (We should all be so lucky.) A quick internet search brings up pictures of Freitekh with celebrities like Justin Bieber and Sofia Vergara. (It looks like he’ll be adding a not-so-glamourous prison mugshot to his photo album very soon.)

During Tarik Freitekh’s hearing, he was described as shaky and distressed. With sweaty hands, he picked up his water bottle to take a drink and lawyer Stephen Lindsay shared that his client doused himself with water while fainting, making impact with the table before him. (There’s never a dull moment with the Freitekh family.) Fortunately, the medics rushed to his aid and the criminal recovered. (It seems to appear that our fraudster was shaken by the thought of going to jail.)

Not even a bruised head could stop the judge from explaining the younger Freitekh’s conviction. Tarik Freitekh is facing up to 85 years in prison for being convicted of one count each for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and falsifying and concealing material facts.

Father Freitekh was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, three counts of money laundering, and one count of making false statements. He is looking at a possible sentence of up to 45 years in prison. (Perhaps the two Freitekh’s can be jail mates and learn how to bond behind bars.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Father and Son Convicted of $1.7 Million COVID-19 Relief Fraud,” dated March 17, 2022.

A federal jury in the Western District of North Carolina convicted two men today for the submission of fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $1.7 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 evidence presented during a six-day trial, Izzat Freitekh, 55, of Waxhaw, North Carolina, and his son Tarik Freitekh, aka Tareq Freitekh, 33, whose last known residence was in Glendale, California, obtained $1.7 million by submitting multiple fraudulent PPP loan applications for companies owned by Izzat Freitekh: La Shish Kabob, La Shish Kabob Catering, Green Apple Catering, and Aroma Packaging. The loan applications misrepresented the number of employees and payroll expenses. After obtaining the fraudulent loan proceeds, the defendants engaged in unlawful monetary transactions with the proceeds of the scheme, including making $30,000 payments to family members.

 

SHARE
Previous articleGot Any Cash?
Next articleThe Fraudster Behind the N-95 Mask

Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.