DENVER (CBS4) — Fifty-two-year-old Anthony Zaghab of Centennial was sentenced recently to 30 months in federal prison and ordered to repay the $708,141 he received from the U.S. government that was intended for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zaghab, according to the plea agreement in the case, committed three manners of fraud.
First, he filled out applications for Economic Disaster Injury Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds from the Small Business Administration using false information. Zaghab falsified “the number of employees, the purported gross revenues, and the purported cost of goods sold for certain business entities under his name,” the United State Attorney General’s Office in Denver stated in a press release. “Zaghab also applied for and attempted to obtain EIDLs on behalf of fictitious or purported business entities created in the names of his family members without the knowledge or consent of these family members. Zaghab falsely represented that the funds would be used to pay payroll and other permissible expenses when, in fact, Zaghab used the majority of these proceeds for his personal benefit.”
He obtained more than $666,000 in those EIDL loans.
Second, Zaghab received more than $83,000 in PPP loan proceeds through four banks loans he was awarded. Those applications also contained falsehoods about his companies’ payrolls, and he used the funds personally, according to prosecutors.
Third, Zaghab applied for unemployment insurance through Colorado Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). He received more than $41,500 using the names of family members without their consent, according to the plea agreement. Zaghab applied on behalf of his mother and sister, both of whom live outside the country, and his father, who had passed away.
Zaghab obtained the funds over the course of 15 months from April 2020 to February of 2021, per case documents.
Approximately $250,000 in fraudulently obtained funds went toward a mortgage for a home in Zaghab’s wife’s name, per prosecutors.
CBS4 found five businesses previously 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. – were registered to the same physical address on Buchtel Boulevard in Denver.
That address, however, belongs to the United States Post Office.
Zaghab was charged with wire fraud in June of 2021. He pleaded guilty to that charge in August and he was sentenced in December.
Zaghab voluntarily returned about $120,000 to the U.S. Secret Service during the course of the investigation.