July 24, 2024

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On Tuesday, a pivotal figure in the scam, to pull off the biggest recorded COVID-19 grant fraud in the history of Maryland was brought to justice. The fraudster, Ahmed Sary from Baltimore County, was part of a significant web of deceit that defrauded the U.S., with a portion of the money even ending up in Egypt.

U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett handed Mr. Sary his seven-year jail term in a low-security men’s prison, with additional three years of supervised freedom. This was due to his active participation in a wire fraud scheme which profited him a whopping $17.9 million. He utilized his unjustly-acquired money to splurge on property in Egypt and live in luxury hotels in Egypt and Dubai.

The punishment doled out to Sary also involves a year of home incarceration and was slightly below what both Sary’s and the prosecutors’ legal representation had agreed upon.

Expressing his view on the sentencing, U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron stated,” Sary’s luxurious living on stolen COVID-19 pandemic relief funds, meant to help people retain their jobs or homes, has now brought about his downfall.”

During the sentence hearing, Bennett, seeing the crime’s gravity, expressed his disbelief, especially considering Sary was a naturalized American.

Bennett also ordered Sary to be in law enforcement’s custody by late September. He highlighted that Sary’s assistance in tracking the purloined money could possibly cut down his prison term.

Addressing Sary right in the court, Bennett mentioned, “You know how to find this money if you chose to do so,”

Throughout the hearing, Bennett alongside his legal team and Sary, tried to trace the funds and explore why a man with a clean criminal record perpetrated such criminality.

The March 2020 CARES Act was implemented to support Americans financially impacted by COVID-19. The Small Business Administration oversaw the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans to aid businesses fulfill their economic responsibilities.

Since April 2020, for two years, Sary and his team drafted deceptive PPP loan and EIDL applications for various businesses, usually in exchange for 20 to 30% of the loan amount, reported Paul Riley during Tuesday’s hearing.

As the U.S. government’s representative, Riley revealed Sary utilized the scam proceeds for property acquisition in Egypt including a seaside eatery, and luxury stays at the Four Seasons Hotel.

As per Riley, Sary advised the loan applicants to fabricate false documentation, which only ended up benefiting him.

Highlighting the lifestyle and exceptional background of Sary in court, Julia Reamy, Sary’s lawyer, argued about his financial problems escalating since 2016, more so after the demise of his parents in 2018 and 2021. Notably, Sary is a father of five, known to have fostered harmony among diverse religions and cultures in his family.

Narrating his regret and remorse over his actions to the court, Sary confessed, “I’m sorry I put myself in this position,”

In October 2023, Sary pled guilty to the charges.

Restitution of $17.9 million was ordered by Bennett to be paid at a rate of $250/month or till he reveals about the money’s location. The government also plans to place a lien on Sary’s Brooklyn Park home, valued at approximately $325,000.

FAQs

What was the total amount fraudulently obtained in this case?

The total amount fraudulently obtained by Ahmed Sary in this case was $17.9 million.

What were the charges that Ahmed Sary plead guilty to?

Ahmed Sary pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the execution of the COVID-19 loan fraud.

What is the length of Ahmed Sary’s prison sentence?

Ahmed Sary was sentenced to seven years in a minimum-security men’s prison with an additional three years of supervised release.