TikTok Influencer Uses Bitcoin to Launder Fraudulent COVID Relief Funds

Source: Decrypt

Denish Sahadevan, a 31-year-old social media influencer, has pleaded guilty to a series of criminal charges related to money laundering using cryptocurrency. 

The US prosecutors have alleged that Sahadevan fraudulently obtained more than $1.2 million in government relief loans.

Three-Year Criminal Empire Brought Down

On May 31, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) issued a press release stating that Denish Sahadevan, a TikTok influencer, has admitted to committing several criminal offenses. 

These offenses include wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.

According to the prosecutors, an extended search on the accused Potomac’s property led to the discovery of his fraudulent activities after three years of operation.

Sahadevan, better known as Danny Devan on social media platforms, was said to have defrauded lenders and Small Business Administration (SBA) of more than $1.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) during a three-year criminal stint. 

The DoJ said that Sahadevan began his criminal activities in March 2020 after he submitted EIDL and PPP applications for four Maryland businesses he controlled. 

To do this, he attached fraudulent and fabricated documents such as tax forms and bank statements. 

Racking up his criminal resume even further, Sahadevan also illegally obtained the identity information of a tax preparer without their knowledge.

For his efforts, Sahadevan successfully obtained $146,000 in PPP benefits after previously applying for 71 such loans, which would have amounted to $941,000 if they had been granted. 

He then applied for another set of eight EIDL loans totaling $283,900, wherein he deceived his father into being a co-signer. 

He also forged his father’s signature on the loan application. 

As stated in the government release, Sahadevan deposited all the ill-gotten proceeds into bank accounts previously created for that purpose.

Afterward, he laundered the money by investing in trading securities and cryptocurrencies to hide any trace. 

Furthermore, the social media influencer used some of the money to pay off his debts and cover some of his female friend’s expenses.

Not satisfied with his hit, Sahadevan proceeded to apply for a loan for $1,336,000 from a financial institution between December 16, 2021, and January 10, 2022. 

In the application, Sahadevan failed to mention the EIDL loan of $283,900 he received from the US government earlier on and was eventually granted the amount. 

He proceeded to use the funds to purchase a property in Potomac, Maryland. 

Potential 32 Years in the Pen?

The TikTok influencer seemed to have been building a strong following on social media. 

According to a Business Insider report, Sahadevan was said to have racked up a neat 630,000 followers on TikTok at the height of his career. 

Source: The Cryptonomist

Following recent events, this number could potentially plummet.

Giving insights as to its discovery during its February 23, 2023 search, the US DoJ said its officers recovered multiple devices.

These include multiple devices, a can containing 18 driver’s licenses belonging to other individuals, a gold physical Bitcoin in a black case, and $17,043 in cash found in the individual’s Potomac residence.

As part of his plea agreement, Sahadevan will forfeit the cash, the gold-plated Bitcoin, and pay restitution of at least $429,906.

The accused is scheduled for a September 21, 2023 sentencing and could potentially face 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud, ten years for money laundering, and a mandatory two years for aggravated identity theft. 

This news is republished from another source. You can check the original article here.

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