23-year-old Buffalo man faces COVID relief fraud charges

Crime

FILE – In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, the Department of Justice seal is seen in Washington, D.C. An internet firm is ending the automated registration of website names that include words or phrases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, in an attempt to combat coronavirus-related fraud. Los Angeles-based Namecheap Inc. made the pledge after a federal judge in Texas on Sunday, March 22, 2020, ordered the takedown of a website the U.S. Department of Justice accused of stealing credit card information while offering fake coronavirus vaccine kits. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– Christian Johnson, 23, of Buffalo has been charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and false statements to a financial institution for allegedly working to defraud financial institutions by filing for COVID relief aid, according to the United States Attorney.

Officials tell us criminal complaint against Johnson was unsealed Friday revealing his alleged participation in a scheme to file for fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loans as provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

It’s alleged Johnson filed for PPP loans at least three financial institutions under a company named ‘Million Man LLC,’ according to the U.S. Attorney.

“The complaint alleges that these applications contained numerous false and misleading statements about Million Man’s business and operations, including the number of employees and average monthly payroll. The complaint further alleges that in support of the fraudulent loan applications, Johnson submitted falsified federal tax documents payroll records.”

United States Attorney Western District of New York

If you have information about alleged attempted fraud pertaining to the pandemic, you’re asked to report it to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. Or submit a web complaint, here.

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.

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