Raghavender Reddy Budamala (35), from California, belonging to the Telugu community, has pleaded guilty to a $5-million COVID-19 relief loan scam.
According to the U.S. attorney’s allegations, Budamala used relief loans to purchase a $1.2 Million investment property in Eagle Rock, a $600 K property in Malibu, and a ‘personal residence’ in Irvine. He also allegedly deposited around $3 million into his personal account.
Budamala said in his plea to the guilty agreement that he will admit to one count of money laundering and one count of bank fraud and will forfeit all of the money he received during the relief scheme.
The accused applied for seven Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans for the businesses, between April 2020 and March 2021, for his three sham companies, Hayventure LLC, Pioneer LLC, and XC International LLC.
These Loans were introduced to help businesses and employees survive shutdowns and quarantines during the pandemic. The loans were forgivable and virtually interest-free.
Budamala said his businesses employed dozens of people and had millions of dollars in revenue while applying for the loans. The banks funded him with 6 loans for a total amount of $5,151,497. Later he applied to have those loans forgiven, stating he had used the funds on the payroll.
The prosecutors said that later it was found out that the addresses listed for the companies were bogus and nonexistent.
They also said that there were no records of those companies paying salaries to any employees, and bank records for the companies reflect no significant income or operating expenses.
In February, Budamala was attempting to flee to Mexico when he was arrested. It is being reported that he could face up to 40 years of jail imprisonment.