Beverly Hills Man, Son Get Prison for COVID Loan Fraud Scheme

Fraud Investigation, Detective Files

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Beverly Hills man and one of his sons were sentenced to federal prison Monday for defrauding COVID-relief programs.

Ramiro Da Rosa Mendes, 61, pleaded guilty in September to one count of wire fraud, admitting to fraudulently seeking more than $6.7 million in COVID-related small business loans for more than half a dozen fake companies. He was sentenced Monday to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.2 million in restitution.

His son, Ammon Jose de Pina Mendes, 27, of Beverly Hills, pleaded guilty to the same charge as his father and was sentenced to 21 months in prison. He was ordered to pay $222,225 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

From April to August 2020, the elder Mendes schemed to fraudulently obtain federal disaster relief funds through the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs that were intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to his plea agreement.

Ramiro Mendes claimed to own numerous fake businesses purportedly based in Beverly Hills, including One Wilshire Enterprises, Professional Music Services, and MB Property Management Group LLC, prosecutors said. But the companies were fake businesses that did not exist prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and did not have any operations or employees, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The father also claimed to be the owner of fake real estate services companies, including Ramiro Mendes Real Estate Services and Real Estate Services, as well as other businesses.

In his plea agreement, filed in Los Angeles federal court, the elder Mendes admitted to submitting 19 applications for PPP and EIDL loans that contained false and fraudulent information, including the purported existence of payroll expenses, phony tax forms, and the operational status of the businesses.

His son admitted fraudulently obtaining about $222,225 in PPP and EIDL loans. A second son, who also pleaded guilty, is awaiting sentencing.

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