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Minneapolis, MN (KROC-AM News) - A Minnesota man has been sentenced to five years in prison for a scheme to defraud the federal government.

47-year-old Aditya Raj Sharma earlier entered a guilty plea to a federal wire fraud charge and was sentenced Wednesday. He was accused of fraudulently applying for more than $6.9 million in assistance from the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program, which was created to help businesses keep employees on their payroll during and after the COVID-19 economic shutdown in 2020. Federal prosecutors say he was awarded more than $1.7 million in assistance.

Small Business Administration
Small Business Administration

Court records indicate the Maple Grove man created three technology companies in the late spring and early summer of 2020 and applied for 16 loans through the Paycheck Protection Program using fraudulent applications on behalf of those companies. Prosecutors say he also applied for a fraudulent loan under his wife’s name without her knowing.

The charges against Sharma alleged that he used the $1.7 million he received through the Paycheck Protection Program to pay legal debts, finance new businesses, home improvements, and a swimming pool at his home. investigators were able to seize almost $675,000 from Sharma's bank accounts. In addition to the time in federal prison, Sharma will also serve two years on supervised release and has been ordered to pay $1,773,600 in restitution.

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