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Dearborn Heights man tried to buy condo in Lebanon with COVID relief loans, officials say

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Posted at 3:55 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 15:55:45-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A Dearborn Heights man was arrested Tuesday for an alleged connection with fraud and money laundering involving 10 separate Economic Injury Disaster Loans equaling to $1 million.

According to the United States Department of Justice, 59-year-old Wahid Mohamed Makki was charged with a criminal complaint for one count of wire fraud and money laundering on Tuesday. The criminal complaint states that Makki transferred approximately $1,082,600 from EIDL loans obtained for 10 shell corporations. In a statement, officials say that the wire transfer instructions to a bank in the Republic of Turkey show that Makki transferred the money to purchase a condo in Beirut, Lebanon.

The news release states that the CARES Act authorizes the SBA to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans to eligible small businesses during the pandemic. These businesses could take out a loan of up to $2 million.

“Economic Injury Disaster Loans played a significant role in keeping many Michigan businesses running during the pandemic,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Division Josh Hauxhurst in a statement. “This defendant is alleged to have taken money from that program and used it to purchase property overseas. This is a serious crime and the FBI is committed to finding and investigating anyone guilty of defrauding this program.”

Currently, this case is being investigated by the FBI. Any information regarding attempted fraud involving COVID-19 pandemic relief can report to 866-720-5721.