One of my favorite Lyle Lovett songs is "What Do You Do/The Glory of Love," where the Houston singer-songwriter shares the vocal spotlight with the incomparable Francine Reed.
The lyric that initially caught my ear and makes me chuckle every time I hear it goes, "If you make all that money man, make damn sure it shows."
That's a great exchange in a duet, but such showiness raised suspicions about a Dallas-area accountant accused of defrauding the COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
PPP fraud guilty plea: Steven Jalloul was indicted in September 2020 on charges he orchestrated a fraudulent scheme to secure more than $23 million in forgivable PPP loans.
The 43-year-old pleaded guilty on Oct. 19 to "a superseding information charging him with one count of engaging in monetary transactions using property derived from unlawful activity."
That's a lot of legalese from Chad E. Meacham, acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. The bottom line, though, is that Jalloul admitted in court this week that he submitted roughly 170 falsified PPP loan applications to lenders, some through a fintech company, seeking more than $23 million on behalf of more than 160 clients of his Dallas tax preparation business.
Already in jail for another tax crime: A sentencing date for the PPP fraud plea has not been set, but when that happens, Jalloul could face up to 10 years in prison.
And law enforcement officials won't have any trouble getting him back to court to face his coronavirus crime fate. Jalloul already is behind bars at the Federal Correctional Institution in Seagoville, Texas.
He was sent to that federal lockup southeast of Dallas after pleading guilty in January 2020 to a separate tax fraud case. That crime got him six years of time.
Flashy clothes + cars = suspect: As for the PPP charges, investigators aren't saying how they were tipped off to Jalloul's scheme. However, some of his neighbors suspected he was up to something.
Residents at the Garland, Texas, apartment complex listed as Jalloul's address told local news crews that the high-end clothing he wore and the expensive cars he drove didn't seem to fit.
The median household income in the suburb northeast of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex was, per 2019 data, just more than $61,000. Court documents show that Jalloul's false PPP loan scheme netted him at least $972,114 in client fees.
As Lyle and Francine note in their duet, when it comes to such impressive amounts of money, some folks just got to flaunt it.
You also might find these items of interest:
- Almost 20% of California restaurants used zappers to evade taxes
- IRS' law enforcement unit successes: COVID crimes, traditional tax investigations
- [Another] Texas man pleads guilty to $24.8 million PPP fraud; IRS touts more success in COVID-19 investigations