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14 Houston-area residents charged in massive PPP fraud scam

The feds say the suspects from Richmond and Sugar Land were part of a Houston-area ring that scammed the federal government out of millions of dollars.

SUGAR LAND, Texas — Four residents of Fort Bend County face federal charges in a $35M COVID-19 relief fraud case, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Hamza Abbas, 29, Khalid Abbas, 55, Abdul Fatani, 55, all from Richmond, and Syed Ali, 53, of Sugar Land, are charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Khalid Abbas, Fatani and Ali are also charged with money laundering.  

A total of 15 people across two states have now been charged in the massive conspiracy. Almost all of them live in the Houston area. 

The other suspects named in the indictment are Amir Aqeel, 53,  and Pardeep Basra, 52, both of Houston; Rifat Bajwa, 53, Richmond; Mayer Misak, 41, Cypress; Mauricio Navia, 42, Katy; Richard Reuth, 58, Spring; and Siddiq Azeemuddin, 42, Naperville, Illinois.

RELATED: Houston man who used $1.6 million in COVID relief money to buy Lambo, other luxury items is going to prison

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison per count of wire fraud and 10 years for each money laundering conviction.

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