US-based Indian origin doctor alleged of fraud in COVID relief program



Another Indian-origin man in the US has been caught cheating the government in gaining COVID-19 relief funds unlawfully.

Alleged of fraud, Ameet Goyal, an ophthalmologist from Rye, New York, was indicted with fraudulently obtaining nearly $630,000 in Government-guaranteed loans aimed at helping small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic while he was on pretrial release.

In November 2019, Goyal was charged with healthcare fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements relating to healthcare matters and had been placed on pretrial release.

Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss on Wednesday announced Goyal has been charged in a Superseding Indictment with fraudulently obtaining the COVID-19 related government-guaranteed loans for which he was ineligible due to his pending criminal charges. He will be arraigned on June 26.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), was launched in April 2020 by US Small Business Administration (SBA) to pull out drowning small and medium business out of their financial hardship due the pandemic. But it has been subject to many miscreants trying to misuse the funds for personal gains, like Goyal, who falsely represented on two separate applications that he was not subject to any pending indictment.

The PPP also limits each eligible borrower to one loan, and a maximum loan amount calculated based on a business’s average monthly payroll expenses.

Goyal circumvented the single-loan requirement by submitting two separate applications, with different business names, email addresses, business identification numbers, and loan amounts, while disclaiming on each application that he owned any other business.

According to the allegations contained in the Superseding Indictment filed in White Plains federal court, Goyal applied for over USD 630,000 in Government-guaranteed loans through the SBA’s PPP.

Specifically, on or about April 21, 2020, he applied for Loan-1 in the amount of USD 358,700 for the business “Ameet Goyal”, doing business as “Eye associates”.

He then applied for a second loan for the amount of USD 278,500, showing a separate business, which federal rules prohibited. To substantiate each loan, however, he submitted the exact same underlying payroll expense report, showing the same employees and payroll costs.

On each application, he stated that he was the president and 100 percent owner of the respective applicant and that he did not own any business other than the listed applicant. On both applications, he falsely answered “No” to the Pending Charges Question.

He also falsely certified, among other things, that the applicant will not receive another PPP loan until the end of the year.

On May 3, 2020, he executed the loan note for USD 358,700 and received the funds in full and later executed multiple identical versions of the loan note for the second loan for USD 278,500 and received those funds in full.