A Maple Grove man was charged Monday with defrauding more than half a million dollars from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, a key source of assistance for businesses struggling during the pandemic.
Aditya Raj Sharma, 47, has been charged with one count of wire fraud, Minnesota U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald announced Monday.
Sharma had been terminated from a leadership position at a cloud-based software development company called Crosscode Inc. in November 2019, according to an unsealed federal indictment. In April, he submitted a loan application seeking approximately $562,500 for a new cloud-computing technology company called Kloudgaze Inc.
But Sharma had not yet created Kloudgaze Inc. when he applied for the loan, the federal indictment said. Additionally, he submitted the loan application in the name of "Crosscode dba Kloudgaze," falsely claiming the company he was let go from did business under his new company's name.
Sharma also falsely stated he was the sole owner and CEO of Crosscode and that "Crosscode dba Kloudgaze" had 29 employees on its payroll. Minnesota records show Sharma did not pay wages to a single employee, according to the indictment. He included fraudulent supporting documents in his Paycheck Protection Program application.
Sharma's application was approved and he received the full amount requested, the indictment said. Instead of using the funds for small-business expenses, he transferred about $500,000 to a personal bank account, made a $5,000 down payment toward the installation of a swimming pool at his home and transferred approximately $14,000 to a financial account in India.