West Linn man pleads guilty in $11.5 million COVID-19 relief fraud case
A former dentist from West Linn pleaded guilty in federal court to fraudulently obtaining nearly $11.5 million in government loans intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Salwan Adjaj, 43, entered his guilty plea Tuesday, Sept. 13, on charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon.
Adjaj, a West Linn resident who practiced dentistry in Sherwood, Clackamas and Portland, used fake names and business identification numbers on dozens of loan applications submitted to the Small Business Administration between September 2020 and May 2021. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, he used his personal address on the applications and submitted them from an IP address associated with his dental practice.
After the Small Business Administration rejected most of his loan applications, Adjaj turned to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, where he found much greater success.
"In May 2021, Adjaj submitted three RRF applications for restaurants allegedly located in Sarasota, Miami and Daytona Beach, Florida," the release stated.
In all, the Small Business Administration paid more than $11.5 million for Adjaj's fraudulent loans, grants and associated lender fees.
In a separate federal criminal case, Adjaj pleaded guilty July 13 to illegally distributing controlled substances he obtained through his profession as a dentist.
According to the news release, Adjaj faces 22 years in prison for fraud and 10 years in prison for the drug charges. He also faces fines totaling $750,000 and supervised release of six years for both offenses.
His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 6 in U.S. District Court.
"As part of his plea agreement, Adjaj has agreed to pay no less than $10.5 million in restitution to SBA and his victim lenders," the release stated.
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