U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Government Website

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Safely connect using HTTPS

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  2. News Room
  3. 6 Sentenced for Roles in $20M COVID-19 Relief Fraud Ring

6 Sentenced for Roles in $20M COVID-19 Relief Fraud Ring

Release Date: February 13, 2024

HOUSTON — Six more people were sentenced Feb. 12 for their roles in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain more than $20 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans that were guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

The investigation that uncovered the conspiracy and led to the convictions was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General for the Central Region, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Dallas Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration in the Gulf States Field Division.

Hamza Abbas, 31; Ammas Uddin, 31; and Arham Uddin, 27; all residents of Richmond, were sentenced to 44, 18 and 18 months, respectively, while Syed Ali, 55, a resident of Sugar Land, was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Two others — Muhammad Anis, 55, and Jesus Acosta Perez, 33, both residents of Houston, were sentenced to respective terms of 21 months and 12 months and one day. All six had previously pleaded guilty to the charges and will be required to pay varying amounts in restitution.

According to court documents, all six individuals conspired with other participants in the conspiracy to fraudulently obtain Paycheck Protection Program loans by supplying information about their businesses to submit false and fraudulent loan applications. Specifically, the loan applications falsified numbers of employees and average monthly payroll expenses. The loan applications included fraudulent bank records and fake federal tax forms.

A portion of the illicit proceeds were then laundered by writing checks from the companies to fake employees. These fake paychecks were cashed at certain cash checking businesses, including one owned by a co-conspirator. Abbas also recruited others into the conspiracy and created fraudulent bank records that were used in support of the loan applications in exchange for kickbacks.

In October 2023, seven others were sentenced for their roles in the loan fraud conspiracy, including the ringleader, Amir Aqeel, 54, of Houston, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison. In January, three other people who had previously pleaded guilty were sentenced for their roles in the loan fraud scheme. Raheel Malik, 43, a resident of Sugar Land, and Nishant Patel, 41, a resident of Houston, received respective sentences of 18 and 24 months, while Harjeet Sing, 50, a resident of Katy, was sentenced to five years of probation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rodolfo Ramirez and Kristine Rollinson are prosecuting the case with trial attorneys Kate McCarthy, Louis Manzo, Spencer Ryan, Della Sentilles and Randall Warden of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

For more news and information on HSI’s efforts to aggressively investigate COVID-19-related fraud and other financial crime in Southeast Texas, follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSIHouston.

Anyone with information about suspected COVID-19-related fraud or other criminal activity is encouraged to report it to HSI by emailing the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) S.T.O.P. COVID-19 Fraud Tipline at Covid19Fraud@dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
Was this page helpful?
This page was not helpful because the content