They have more than 15 nail salons
Aurelia Ventura / Impremedia / La Opinion
Federal authorities on Thursday arrested the owners of a chain of nail salons in New York for allegedly defrauding the government with $ 13 million in COVID-19 relief loans and smuggling immigrants to exploit them at lower wages.
Peter Nguyen, Victoria Ho and Dat Ho, owners of a chain of more than 15 nail salons called “Victoria Nails & Spa” In Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Long Island, they submitted multiple applications to two financial institutions beginning in April for profit from the Payment Protection Program (PPP), prosecutors said.
The scammers allegedly got them approved $ 13 million in loans, and the government deposited $ 7.8 million in their bank accounts between April and June. To obtain the loans, the owners they lied saying they had paid $ 2.3 million in wages to 34 employees in 2019, prosecutors allege.
“These defendants conspired to defraud the SBA (Small Business Agency) COVID relief financial institutions and loan program by lying about how many people they employed in their family business and how much they were paid,” said Audrey Strauss, US Attorney interim for the Southern District of New York. “Supposedly they exploited a program designed to provide vital funding for small businesses legitimately struggling amid the pandemic. “
Nguyen (44) and Dat Ho (33) are also charged with csmuggling immigrants from Vietnam to the US so they could work in their salons and illegally paid low wages, prosecutors indicted in Brooklyn Federal Court Thursday.
All three have been charged with conspiracy to commit bank and electronic fraud. Face up to 30 years in prison if found guilty, reported New York Post.
In contrast, most NYC beauty salons have reported a dire situation due to the lack of clients due to the population exodus, the closure of offices and the fear of contagion. Most of the affected workers are immigrant women.