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Temecula Businessman Charged In $7M COVID Relief Fraud

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) – A 59-year-old Temecula man was arrested Wednesday on federal charges that he pilfered hundreds of thousands of dollars from the over $7 million he fraudulently received through the Paycheck Protection Program, using some of it to buy a luxury car and even trying to wire $150,000 of it to the African nation of Mauritania.

Oumar Sissoko was set to be arraigned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Riverside on four counts of wire fraud.

According to federal prosecutors, in May of 2020, Sissoko received a $7.25 million loan for his purported pothole repair company, Road Doctor.

He claimed in his application that Road Doctor was slated to hire 450 full-time employees and had a monthly payroll of $2.9 million, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release Wednesday.

However, after receiving the money -- which was supposed to go to employee payroll, utility payments, mortgage payments and the like – Sissoko instead bought himself a luxury car for $100,000, the Justice Department alleges.

He tried to wire $150,000 to a minerals exploration company in Mauritania for which he claimed to be the CEO, prosecutors said. He made a $100,000 payment to purchase a company in New Hampshire

He also purchased a $6,000 computer.

It's unclear if any of the PPP money actually went to Road Doctor.

He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each of the four counts.

The $349 billion PPP program money – which was approved as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) in late March of 2020 -- dried up so quickly that Congress was forced to pass a second relief package in April which includes another $310 billion.

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