North Carolina restaurant owner, son accused of obtaining $1.7 million in PPP loans through fraud

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WAXHAW, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A North Carolina man and his son have been charged with fraud after the U.S. Department of Justice says they obtained more than $1.7 million in PPP loans through multiple fraudulent applications.

DOJ officials say Izzat Freitekh, 55, and his son Tarik Freitekh, also known as Tareq, 33, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of bank fraud. The elder Freitekh was also charged with one count of false statements.

The indictment alleges that the PPP loans provided through the Small Business Association included false and fraudulent IRS tax documentation submitted on behalf La Shish Kabob Restaurant in Charlotte, and, separately, La Shish Catering.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) initiated under the COVID-19 CARES Act allows qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive two-year loans at a one percent interest rate.

There was also an application which included fraudulent IRS tax documents submitted on behalf of Green Apple Catering LLC (Green Apple), stating that the restaurant had paid $4.8 million to employees in 2019, despite evidence that the company did not exist until March 2020.

An application that included false company payroll information and fraudulent IRS tax documents was also submitted in the name of Aroma Packaging Systems.

The indictment also alleges that Izzat Freitekh made false statements to law enforcement agents, saying that a company called “Kyber Capital” was responsible for submitting the PPP loan applications in question.

The DOJ says they have recovered about $1.3 million of the disbursed PPP funds in the matter.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling 866-720-5721.

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