A 35-year-old man from Irvine is facing a federal charge after he allegedly used three sham companies to obtain more than $5 million in COVID-19-related loans and attempted to flee to Mexico, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Reddy Raghav Budamala was arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border early Thursday, a day after authorities searched his home, the DOJ said in a press release.
He is accused of using three shell companies he acquired or formed in 2019 — Hayventure LLC, Pioneer LLC, and XC International LLC — to submit seven applications for pandemic-relief loans through the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan, according to the DOJ.
“As part of the applications filed from April 2020 through March 2021, Budamala falsely represented to the banks administering the COVID-relief business loan programs that his companies employed dozens of individuals and earned millions of dollars in revenue, and that he needed the money for payroll and business expenses,” the release said.
Budamala was granted loans for six of the seven applications, totaling nearly $5.2 million.
Despite saying he was using the funds for payroll expenses, Budamala instead bought a $1.2 million property in Los Angeles and a nearly $600,000 property in Malibu, invested $970,000 in a visa program for immigrants, and deposited nearly $3 million into his personal TD Ameritrade account, according to the DOJ.
He then applied to have multiple loans forgiven, the DOJ added.
Budamala, who faces a charge of wire fraud, is being held without bond because he is a flight risk, a judge ruled Thursday afternoon. He faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison if convicted.