Joshua Argires, 29, of Houston, has been charged with COVID relief fraud. He allegedly made two fraudulent applications for more than $1.1 million in forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
The complaint alleges that Mr Argires made applications on behalf of two businesses, Texas Barbecue and Houston Landscaping. He allegedly claimed that the two companies had numerous employees and hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll expenses.
The $956,000 Texas Barbecue loan was funded through PrimeWay Federal Credit Union, while the Houston Landscaping loan was funded by Bank of America.
The funds received on behalf of Texas Barbecue were allegedly invested in a cryptocurrency account. The funds obtained for Houston Landscaping were held in a bank account and slowly depleted via ATM withdrawals.
Mr Argires is charged with making false statements to a financial institution, wire fraud, bank fraud and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.
Last month, another Houston man, Jase Gautreaux, was charged with fraudulently seeking over $13 million through PPP loans.