Mukund Mohan, an Indian tech executive who formerly worked with Microsoft and Amazon has been arrested for applying for small business loans worth over $5.5 million in the US fraudulently. These loans were part of the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal stimulus for small businesses to be able to retain workers employed during the coronavirus pandemic. He reportedly claimed the benefits of the program by creating six shell companies and showing fraudulent tax filings and incorporation documents.
Out of the $5.5 million that he applied for through eight loans, two were reportedly cancelled, one was withdrawn and five were approved amounting to $2.57 million.
He also allegedly laundered some of the money into his personal Robinhood brokerage account. Robinhood Markets is an American financial services company, and it reportedly showed records of an account belonging to Mohan transferring $231,000 of the money he received through the program to the stock-trading app.
As per a Bloomberg report, these loan documents contianed false information, including one in which he claimed to have had dozens of employees to whom he paid in excess of $2.3 million as salaries in 2019. As per the report, the reality, according to a US Attorney in Washington, is that this shell company had no employees and that he only acquired ownership of the company in May.
Seattle-based Mohan is the chief technology officer and head of Sales at BuildDirect.com Technologies Inc, a website that connects people with home contractors, since 2018, as per his LinkedIn profile. At Microsoft, he was a director for Microsoft Ventures, the venture capital subsidiary of the company from 2011-13, after which he was director of engineering for two more years at the tech major.
According to Inc42, Mohan was a prominent name in the Indian startup ecosystem. However, the publication reportedly investigated the claims made by him that he founded over five companies, invested in 11 companies between 2008 and 2012 in his personal capacity and funding two companies through investment fund Napkin Stage.
He reportedly claimed to have invested in ChargeBee, SignEasy and Appointy through NapkinStage. However, these three startups had clarified that NapkinStage wasnâ€™t an investor in them and ChargeBee and SignEasy said that it was only an advisor.