Portland Man Admits To Stealing Money Meant To Help Small Businesses Survive Pandemic

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Federal officials say an Oregon man has pleaded guilty to perpetrating a scheme to steal money intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon says 47-year-old Benjamin Tifekchian of Portland on Tuesday pleaded guilty to bank fraud.

After Congress in 2020 passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Tifekchian made false claims and successfully obtained more than $884,000 in a Paycheck Protection Program loan.

Prosecutors say Tifekchian used some of the money to pay for gambling and vacations before Bank of America froze the loan funds, suspecting fraud.

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