LEESBURG, Va. — A Leesburg, Virginia, man has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining more than $2.5 million in coronavirus loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
According to the DOJ, Didier K. Kindambu, 49, created fraudulent payroll documentation through two of his businesses. He then submitted that documentation in an application for PPP loans. The Justice Department said Kindambu’s claimed his businesses had dozens of employees with million of dollars in payroll when “in fact they had few, if any, employees.”
In a probable cause affidavit, federal investigators said Kindambu claimed one of his businesses, Papillon Holdings, Inc., had 18 employees and total payroll expenses of more than $7 million in 2019. He then claimed a second business, Papillon Air, Inc., had 27 full-time employees and an average monthly payroll of nearly $2 million. According to the Justice Department, however, Papillon Air had not reported withholding any income tax from employee checks in either 2019 or 2020 – suggesting that there were no employees at all.
Those fraudulent claims helped Kindambu receive more than $2.5 million in PPP funds, which were meant to help businesses struggling due to the coronavirus keep employees on.
Kindambu pleaded guilty to spending that money instead on things like a Lexus and a Cessna, his personal taxes, the down-payment on a luxury residence in Leesburg, clothing, jewelry and shoes.
“At a time when countless families and business owners nationwide are struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing pandemic, Didier Kindambu committed a multimillion-dollar bank fraud by misappropriating COVID-19 taxpayer relief funds to pay for his lavish lifestyle,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Kindambu faces up to 30 years in prison for bank fraud. A sentencing hearing was scheduled for August 4.