SAN ANTONIO, TX — A 29-year-old Houston man has been charged with bank fraud after authorities say he requested more than $1.1 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans for employees that did not exist.
According to KTXS, Joshua Thomas Argires submitted paperwork PPP loans to two separate banks. According to federal prosecutors, Argires claimed to be the owner of a company called Texas Barbecue and Houston Landscaping.
During the investigation, authorities discovered that neither of the businesses had employees.
“The funds received on behalf of Texas Barbecue were invested in a cryptocurrency account,” said prosecutors. “While the funds obtained for Houston Landscaping were held in a bank account and slowly depleted via ATM withdrawals.”
Federal rules mandated business owners to use PPP funds for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
Argires is currently charged with making false statements to a financial institution, wire fraud, bank fraud, and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.