New York (LatestNewsX.com): In a recent turn of events, Ranjan Rajbanshi, a dental practitioner operating in both Bakersfield and Santa Barbara, has pleaded guilty to a disheartening incident. Over the span of April 2020 through February 2022, Rajbanshi managed to secure an impressive sum of over $850,000 in relief funds from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
His intention was to allocate these funds exclusively for legitimate business purposes like covering facility costs, managing payroll, and purchasing protective equipment for his team.
The authorities were informed through a press release issued by the US attorney’s office for the Eastern District of California. It outlined Rajbanshi’s initial commitment to adhering to the designated utilization of the relief funds. However, he later diverted a staggering $500,000 for personal expenditures that were far from appropriate. This sum was channeled into investments, a misuse that has now come to light.
Dentist Ranjan Rajbanshi Admits Misusing Covid-19 Relief Funds
Taking responsibility for his actions, Ranjan Rajbanshi has agreed to reimburse the entirety of the misappropriated amount to the government prior to his sentencing. His fate will be determined in court by US District Judge Ana de Alba on December 4.
Ranjan Rajbanshi faces severe penalties, including a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in prison along with a fine of up to $250,000. The actual outcome will be at the discretion of the court, considering various statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
This incident highlights a recurring concern as it echoes a case from the preceding month. Around 14 individuals, including several business owners and employees of Indian origin, were charged with involvement in a fraudulent scheme that embezzled $53 million from a Covid-19 pandemic relief program in Texas.
This particular case gained significant attention as the largest investigation undertaken by the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) Fraud Task Force. Established on May 17, 2021, this task force is dedicated to bolstering investigations and prosecutions against those responsible for manipulating relief programs. Its mission is to counteract fraud and hold accountable both domestic and international criminal actors.