MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Maple Grove man pleaded guilty Wednesday to fraudulently applying for $9.6 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
According to court documents, Aditya Raj Sharma, 47, was the founder, CEO, and president of Crosscode Inc., a software development company located in Maple Grove.
In November 2019, Sharma was removed as an officer and terminated from the company by Crosscode’s board of directors.
Between May 2020 and July 2020, Sharma created three separate technology companies, Kloudgaze Inc., Neoforma LLC, and Mokume LLC.
From April 2020 through August 2020, Sharma applied for 16 loans for $9,619,046.46 through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program from 10 different lenders by submitting false applications under the names of his technology companies.
As part of the scheme, he submitted false documents and statements about the number of employees he had and the number of payroll expenses he incurred. He also made false statements about the relevant corporate entities and intended use of the loans.
As a result, lenders approved three of his PPP applications and deposited $1,773,600 in PPP funds into Sharma’s bank accounts. Rather than using the funds for business expenses, Sharma used the money to pay off unrelated legal debts, fund new business ventures, transfer approximately $14,000 to a financial account in India, as well as pay for home improvements.
According to the court documents, law enforcement obtained warrants to seize approximately $674,980.76 in fraudulent funds held in Sharma’s bank accounts.
As part of the plea agreement, these seized funds will be forfeited by Sharma to the Unites States.