A Somerset County man was arrested on Thursday for allegedly fraudulently obtaining more than $860,000 under the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Disaster Loan Payments (EIDL), a announced US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.
Butherde Darius, 49, of North Plainfield, has been charged with one count of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering. Darius was due to make his first court appearance on Thursday afternoon.
Darius allegedly submitted loan applications containing fraudulent information about his alleged business, Fabulous Appetizers LLC. He would have invented the existence of employees and the income of his company. Darius received about $862,000 in federal COVID-19 emergency relief funds earmarked for struggling small businesses, Sellinger said.
Darius reportedly spent the proceeds on personal expenses, including hotels and airline tickets, and made cash withdrawals of more than $58,000.
The bank fraud count faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine; each count of wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and each count of money laundering carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Counts of wire fraud and money laundering carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or double the defendant’s gross gain or victim’s gross loss, whichever is greater.
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Alexander Lewis is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist whose work covers many subjects. This coverage is only possible with the support of our readers. Sign up today for a digital subscription.