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Tuesday, Nov 28, 2023

Santa Clarita Man Sentenced for COVID-19 Relief Fraud

Hassan Kanyike of Santa Clarita, was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison Monday for a fraud scheme to acquire about $1.8 million in COVID-19 relief funds from the Small Business Administration and Paycheck Protection Program.

Kanyike, 30, who pleaded guilty in March to a single count of wire fraud, was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and $1.3 million in restitution to the SBA and four victim lenders.

From April 2020 to June 2020, Kanyike submitted six fraudulent PPP loan applications and two fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications. He included fake federal tax filings and payroll reports for a used-car business to support his PPP loan applications. Using the applications, he sought funds to purportedly pay salaries to people he claimed worked for two of his businesses.

Kanyike falsely claimed the business, Van Nuys-based Falcon Motors, had 26 employees and an average monthly payroll of $168,000. He submitted a fabricated IRS tax form claiming the automobile business paid $2 million to employees in 2019.

Kanyike successfully obtained about $1 million through four of the six PPP loans. He also acquired $300,000 through the two EIDL loans. Cumulatively, Kanyike schemed to fraudulently obtain eight loans totaling approximately $1.8 million.

At the time of his arrest in December 2020, Kanyike had transferred approximately $762,000 to his country of citizenship, Uganda.

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