DENVER (CBS4) — Fifty-two-year-old Anthony Zaghab of Denver was charged in a Denver federal courtroom earlier this month with wire fraud after applying for and receiving more than $700,000 in COVID-19 related federal assistance.
Zaghab applied for Economic Disaster Injury Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from the U.S. Small Business Administration between April 2020 and February 2021, according to case documents. He allegedly received $660,000 in EIDL and PPP payments.READ MORE: Colorado State Audit Finds ‘Significant Deficiencies’ In Unemployment Insurance Claims
Prosecutors with the United State Attorney General’s Office in Denver allege Zaghab “falsely represented that the information provided in the EIDL applications was true and accurate,” as stated in a June 17 press release. “Specifically, …Zaghab falsely stated the number of employees, the purported gross revenues, and the purported cost of goods sold for each of these entities.”
One of the fake businesses was purportedly registered in the name of Zaghab’s deceased father,
Zaghab also applied for funds through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Federal prosecutors allege he used the names of his mother and sister, both of whom live out of the country and both whom were unaware their names were being used. He did the same using his dead father’s name, according to case documents.
Zaghab received more than $40,000 from PUA, per case documents.
Approximately $250,000 in fraudulently obtained funds went toward a mortgage for a home in Zaghab’s wife’s name, prosecutors allege.
Zaghab voluntarily returned about $120,000 to the U.S. Secret Service during the investigation.READ MORE: Payment Protection Program Runs Out Of Money Ahead Of May 31 Application Deadline
CBS4 found five businesses previously or currently registered with the Colorado Secretary of State in Zaghab’s name. Three of those – Kloud Heads Smoke Shop & Vape, Inc., WSI Marketing & Promotions, Inc., and Vibe Marketing and Promotions, Inc. – are registered to the same physical address on Buchtel Boulevard in Denver.
That address, however, belongs to the United States Post Office.
The other two businesses also shared the same address. MKZ Investments, Inc., and Dragon Headz Tobacco Shop, Smoke Shop, and Hookah Cafe are registered to a property in the 1600 block of Wadsworth Boulevard. A tattoo parlor is seen in that space today. It is not registered in Zaghab’s name.
Zaghab was released from custody after surrendering his passport June 17. He is scheduled to appear in federal court August 9.
MORE NEWS: Colorado Paid $19 Million In Fraudulent Unemployment Claims During COVID-19 Pandemic