Texas wedding planner sentenced after misusing more than $1.5M in PPP loan money, feds say

Authorities say he claimed his business was much larger than it actually was, then paid off his mortgage, bought 2 Teslas, Mercedes with money designed to help businesses amid pandemic

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WASHINGTON – A Texas man was sentenced Thursday to 31 months in prison and three years of supervised release for perpetrating a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $3.3 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday.

According to court documents, Fahad Shah, 45, of Murphy, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud, sought approximately $3.3 million in PPP funds by claiming that his family’s business, WBF Weddings by Farah Inc., employed more than 100 people and paid millions of dollars in compensation to those employees.

The business, according to the DOJ, in actuality had no employees aside from Shah and his wife. Based on Shah’s false representations and forged documents, an SBA-approved lender provided over $1.5 million in PPP loan funds to Shah, the DOJ said in a news release.

Federal authorities say Shah then used the funds for personal gain contrary to program’s terms, paying off his home mortgage and purchasing two Teslas and a Mercedes, among other unspecified items.

Trial Attorney Della Sentilles and Louis Manzo of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Coan and Bob Wells of the Eastern District of Texas prosecuted the case.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form here.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, social media news and local crime.