Federal authorities nabbed the Illinois and Texas based conspirators but not before their scam raked in millions of dollars in relief, meant for small business owners.

The Justice Department says seven men, based in two different states, fraudulently acquired over $16 million from the Payroll Protection Program. This is the federal loan program that set aside more than $600 billion to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. While these men were buying super expensive cars and property, small business owners who were counting on that relief, were instead having to struggle to try and stay open.

The seven suspects are; Amir Aqeel, 52, and Siddiq Azeemuddin, 41, these two were also charged with money laundering. Others named in the indictment were Pardeep Basra, 51; Rifat Bajwa, 51; Mayer Misak, 40; Mauricio Navia, 41; and Richard Reuth, according to nbcnews.com. The arrest documents say the group secured about $16 million before federal agents executed 45 warrants, seizing a 2013 Lamborghini, a Porsche and property in an upscale section of Houston.

The group sought to scam nearly $30 million, but were arrested before accomplishing that goal.

Steve Shannon is host of The Steve Shannon Show on 97ZOK. On the air weekday mornings from 6 to 10 a.m. and a special 'Rewind' show, featuring favorite moments from previous shows, on Saturday mornings from 5 to 7 a.m.. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and like his page on Facebook.

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