A couple have been arrested in a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan bank fraud in Tulsa.
The couple Ibanga Etuk, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft on April 9. Teosha Etuk, 33, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud on April 6.
The Tulsa couple who fraudulently applied for Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act pleaded guilty in federal court, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
The Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said: “Ibanga and Teosha Etuk exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to steal taxpayer-funded resources from small businesses, and because of this, they are now convicted felons”.
He added: “The Coronavirus Anti-Fraud Team and our partners at the Small Business Administration, Federal Reserve Board and FBI remain committed to protecting the integrity of critical resources provided by Congress to assist the American people.”
Ibanga Etuk admitted that from April 6, 2020, to April 29, 2020, he knowingly applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan from Frontier State Bank under false pretenses. The defendant lied about the number of people employed during the previous months of purported operations, the payroll expenditures during the previous months, taxes paid during previous months of operation, ownership of the business, and relationships between the parties in a $300,000 loan application submitted for Ab0veAll Business Inc.
Ibanga Etuk further admitted that during the same time he unlawfully used another individual’s identity on payroll records submitted to Frontier State Bank when he applied for the $300,000 ppp loan.
Teosha Etuk admitted that from April 14, 2020, to April 29, 2020, she fraudulently applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan through First Liberty Bank. Specifically, she lied about the number of people employed during the previous months of purported operations, the payroll expenditures during the previous months, taxes paid during previous months of operation, ownership of the businesses, and relationships between the conspirators in a loan application for $150,000 for the company TMARK Enterprises, Inc.
Also charged in the indictment is Olusola Ojo, 42, of Owasso. Ojo is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Ojo’s charges are still pending in Tulsa federal court.
According to the indictment, the Etuks created 12 fictitious business entities that would fraudulently apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. During this time, Ibanga Etuk and Teosha Etuk submitted multiple applications for the same businesses to more than ten different banks, without disclosing to those banks that they were submitting duplicative applications.
They conspired to obtain loans in the approximate amount of $5,430,585 and actually obtained funding from banks in the total approximate amount of $995,385.
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Office of Inspector General; Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General; and FBI are the investigative agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristin Harrington and Victor A.S. Régal are prosecuting the case.