Massachusetts food truck business owner pleads guilty in pandemic fraud case
The owner of a Massachusetts food truck business pleaded guilty on Tuesday to filing fraudulent loan applications to obtain $1.5 million in federal pandemic relief funds, federal prosecutors said.
Loc Vo, 55, of the Brighton section of Boston, who was arrested last summer, pleaded guilty to wire fraud.
He faces up to 20 years in prison at a sentencing hearing scheduled for May 3.
A lawyer for Vo said he admitted his pandemic aid applications contained misrepresentations and would return about $600,000, the rest of the funds he received.
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Prosecutors say Vo owned Smart Gourmet LLC, a food truck company in Massachusetts, as well as a dormant company in Maryland.
Between April 2020 and July 2021, Vo submitted loan applications on behalf of businesses under three Small Business Administration pandemic relief programs, requesting approximately $1.5 million that was supposed to be used for rent, mortgage interest, payroll and utilities, among other eligible expenses. , prosecutors said.
Instead, Vo moved most of the money into brokerage accounts in his name to invest in the stock market, buying shares in an electric car maker and a biotech company, among others. authorities said.
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Vo’s attorney said he would be able to show that more than half of the other $1 million had been used for its intended purpose, including paying people who had worked at his food trucks up until that time. that the COVID-19 pandemic makes the business unsustainable.
“Until he was approached by the FBI in 2021 regarding the E-Trade and Robinhood transactions, Mr. Vo was actively trying to revive his food truck business,” his attorney, Thomas Kerner, said in an email. mail.
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He said Vo lost a significant portion of pandemic relief funds on investments he made using his E-Trade and Robinhood accounts.
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