Federal investigators say a Coppell man fraudulently applied for dozens of federal stimulus PPP grants and received more than $17 million that he spent buying real estate and luxury cars such as a Bentley and a Corvette.

A coalition of federal agencies charged Dinesh Sah, 55, of Coppell, with applying for $24.8 million in PPP loans for 15 businesses that claimed to have more than 500 employees, but in fact, many of the businesses were registered after the CARES Act was passed and did not have any employees, according to court documents detailing the indictment.

“Mr. Sah exploited this terrible pandemic for personal gain – and he should be held accountable to the American people for that behavior,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox in a statement. “COVID-19 has devastated the finances of hardworking business owners across the nation. PPP funds should be reserved for those who really need them to keep their companies afloat.”

Sah was arrested Sept. 16 and remains in custody, said a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas.

Sah is one of dozens indicted by government prosecutors for fraudulently applying for forgivable loans through the Payroll Protection Program, the $650 billion slice of the CARES Act designed to help small businesses cover costs for wages, rent and utilities. Among those charged with fraud were a former NFL football player and a former reality television star.

The Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program provided forgivable loans to North Texas restaurants, churches, hotels, nonprofits and many other groups to help them weather the economic fallout of COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 5.2 million loans were approved nationwide. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, Texas businesses were approved for more than $41 billion in grants that were intended to go to businesses with 500 employees or fewer.

The indictment said Sah actually received $17.3 million and used the money on multiple homes, international transfers and a 2020 Bentley convertible, a luxury car that typically sells for about $240,000.

Sah was indicted on three counts of wire fraud, three counts of bank fraud and one count of money laundering. Several other unnamed associates and family members are mentioned in the indictment as well.

“Today’s indictment shows Mr. Sah’s disgraceful display of greed, said a statement from Tamera Cantu, special agent in charge of the Dallas office for the IRS criminal investigation unit. “Mr. Sah looked at the Paycheck Protection Program as his own personal piggy bank, treating himself to not only millions in cash, but several luxury vehicles and properties, all while legitimate small business owners in the United States desperately sought out ways to put food on their tables and to ensure their employees were paid.”

Authorities have been able to recover about $6.5 million from Sah, along with several vehicles and homes.

The senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Robert Jeffress, speaks during the Donald Trump campaign rally at Gilley's Dallas in June 2016.

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