Federal authorities busted the owners of a chain of New York nail salons Thursday for allegedly defrauding the government of $13 million of COVID-19 relief loans and smuggling immigrants to exploit them for lesser wages.,
Peter Nguyen, Victoria Ho and Dat Ho, owners of a chain of over 15 nail salons called “Victoria Nails & Spa” in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Long Island, filed several applications with two financial institutions beginning in April to obtain the windfall from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, prosecutors said.
The fraudsters managed to get $13 million in loans approved, and the government deposited $7.8 million in their bank accounts between April and June.
When they learned a hold was placed on their accounts, they began searching online for “ppp fraud” and “ppp loan fraud arrests,” according to prosecutors.
In order to obtain the loans, the owners lied that they had 34 employees and paid them $2,320,170 in wages in 2019, prosecutors allege. However, investigators found they reported a total payroll of $2,320,170 to the state and IRS for four employees, according to a criminal complaint.