One Little Mistake 

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Russian hacker hacking the server in the dark

A former executive at Amazon and Microsoft, entrepreneur Mokund Mohan of Clyde Hill, Wash., evidently changed his focus from technology to crime. After being arrested and charged in July 2020, Mokund pleaded guilty March 15, 2021 to wire fraud and money laundering as part of a scheme to get more than $5.5 million in COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Around the same time, Mohan updated his Twitter bio to note, “I made a mistake. I am sorry. I understand you may not forgive me.” (A mistake?” This was a complex, carefully orchestrated scheme, in which he applied for at least eight illegal loans for six separate companies. But he’s right that we don’t forgive him.)

Mohan’s “mistake” included submitting fake and altered documents such as federal tax filings and business incorporation documents with the PPP loan applications. For one loan, his Mahenjo Inc. company was documented as having dozens of employees and paying millions of dollars in employee wages and payroll taxes. Documents showed the company was incorporated in 2018 and filed federal unemployment tax forms in 2019. Just one catch: Mohan bought the shell company on the Internet in May 2020, and it had no employees. Another company, Zigantic LLC, got nearly $305K in PPP loans. Zigantic doesn’t have a business license, has never paid employee wages, and lists Mohan’s teenage son as its chief marketing officer. (Oops!)

Fortunately, investigators caught on to Mohan’s fraud before he was able to spend or otherwise dispose of the PPP funding. (Maybe that’s the mistake he’s sorry about?) The government seized all but about $16K of the money.

Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and money laundering by up to 10 years, but under the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend the low end of the sentencing range. (Now there’s a real mistake!) Mohan will be required to repay the money not seized, and prosecutors and the defense recommend he pay a $100K fine. (Too bad they can’t make permanently barring him from the internet part of the sentence.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, “Washington State tech executive pleads guilty to wire fraud and money laundering in connection with PPP loans,” dated March 15, 2021.

Seattle – A Washington tech executive pleaded guilty today to wire fraud and money laundering in connection with his scheme to obtain over $5.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and laundering the proceeds, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman for the Western District of Washington.

Mukund Mohan, 48, of Clyde Hill, Washington, was charged in July 2020.  He is scheduled for sentencing in front of U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour on July 20, 2021.

Additional information is from a Seattle Times article, “Eastside tech executive took $5.5M in fraudulent PPP loans, feds allege,” published July 23, 2020.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.