An Issaquah man who submitted nine fraudulent disaster loan applications seeking more than $1.1 million in federal COVID-19 relief dollars was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison.
Austin Hsu, 46, pleaded guilty in January to a count of wire fraud and admitted to applying for small business loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for various companies, including one that had no business or operations.
Federal prosecutors say Hsu, the owner and CEO of a company doing business as chiropractic practice Back 2 Health Bellevue, received funds from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program.
He then used the names of current and former employees to apply for additional loans under the names of four other companies, and submitted fake federal tax filings, according to prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Six of Hsu’s nine loan applications were approved, and he fraudulently obtained more than $700,000 in COVID-19 relief funds, prosecutors said in a release Tuesday. In addition to the prison sentence, Hsu has been ordered to pay $25,000 in fines and about $709,105 in restitution.
The case was prosecuted by trial attorney Christopher Fenton of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Masada. The Attorney General’s COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force was created this year to bolster the Department of Justice’s efforts against pandemic-related fraud throughout the country.
More than 100 individuals have been prosecuted in more than 70 criminal cases, and more than $65 million in cash, properties and luxury items purchased with funds have been seized.