A Washington state chiropractic physician confessed Thursday to fraudulently declaring more than $700,000 in Covid-19 relief funds suggested for struggling small businesses, federal prosecutors said.
Austin Hsu, 46, of Issaquah, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and will be sentenced in April, according to a declaration from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Authorities stated he sent 9 deceptive disaster loan applications covered by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act looking for more than $1 million.
Hsu had actually already gotten Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program loans for his company, a holistic wellness center outside Seattle recalled 2 Health.
He then utilized the names of existing and former employees to apply for loans for four more business, which he likewise admitted to creating phony tax filings to support his plan, according to the Justice Department's declaration.
In another effort to obtain funds, prosecutors stated Hsu incorporated a business in 2020. He initially told the Small Business Administration that the business had actually existed since 2017 and had nine staff members and a gross income of $1.5 million, according to the Justice Department. Nevertheless, Hsu later acknowledged to authorities the company had no service operations, authorities stated.
In overall, 6 out of nine of Hsu's fraudulent loan applications were approved. He was awarded $700,000 of the $1.1 million he looked for.
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“The CARES Act is a federal law enacted March 29. It is designed to offer emergency monetary help to countless Americans who are suffering the financial effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Justice Department statement stated.
The first reported case of coronavirus in the U.S. was reported near Seattle just over a year earlier. The location quickly ended up being the first U.S. infection hot spot.
Back 2 Health did not right away respond to requests for comments early Friday morning. Hsu's name is not listed under the “fulfill the team” portion of the wellness center's site, but online physician evaluation sites list him as a chiropractic doctor.