Encino man created 8 fake businesses, filed for $27 million in bogus COVID-19 loans, feds say – Daily News

An Encino man was arrested Thursday for bilking the federal Paycheck Protection Program, created last year to prop up business struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, out of about $27 million in loans to a handful of fake companies he created, prosecutors say.

Robert Benlevi, 52, was accused of fabricating the details of eight businesses he registered in California over several weeks in Summer 2020, saying each company employed 100 people and averaged $400,000 a month in payroll.

In an indictment unsealed Thursday, a grand jury said he then used those companies to apply for 27 different PPP loans, each totaling $1 million.

“Benlevi falsely represented that the funds sought through the PPP loan applications would be used to pay payroll, health benefits, utilities and other business expenses of (his companies,” the grand jury wrote, “when, in fact, defendant Benlevi knew that the entities did not have any of these business…

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