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NC father, son sentenced for COVID-19 relief fraud

A Waxhaw man and his son will spend several years in federal prison for receiving over $1.5 million in fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loans.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Waxhaw, North Carolina, man and his son will spend several years in prison for fraudulently receiving approximately $1.7 million in COVID-19 relief funding as part of the Paycheck Protection Program

Izzat Freitekh, 57, of Waxhaw, was sentenced to 48 months in prison for his role in the crimes. His son, 35-year-old Tarik Freitekh, aka Tareq Freitekh, 35, whose last known residence was in Glendale, California, was sentenced to 87 months in prison. Both men will also be required to serve three years of court supervision upon their release from prison. 

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The suspects received approximately $1.7 million by submitting multiple fraudulent PPP loan applications for companies owned by Izzat Freitekh. A federal indictment accused the pair of submitting fraudulent PPP loan applications on behalf of multiple companies: La Shish Kabob Restaurant and La Shish Catering, Green Apple Catering LLC and Aroma Packaging Systems. 

The loan applications misrepresented how many employees were on staff, as well as payroll expenses. After the Freitekhs received the money, court documents allege they made $30,000 in payments to family members and other illegal transactions. Both men were convicted of money laundering and other offenses in March 2022

The Justice Department said approximately $1.3 million in PPP funds illegally obtained by the Freitekhs was returned to one of the lenders. 

The PPP program helped small businesses and other types of organizations receive forgivable loans for payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities. In return, businesses had to spend the loan within a set period of time and use the money to cover a percentage of payroll costs.

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