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Utah businessman accused of $1.8 million COVID relief scam

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(The Center Square) – A Utah County businessman was arrested this week after being indicted by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City for wire fraud.

Robert Blake Molling, a 41-year-old from Lehi, Utah, allegedly fraudulently obtained over $1.8 million in federal government disaster relief funds, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah’s office.

Between March 2020 and April 2022, Molling fraudulently applied for COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) funds for two different companies. Congress allocated funding to the Small Business Administration. It did this so SBA could offer low-interest loans to eligible small businesses facing financial disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Molling lied about his criminal history on his applications. He claimed that he had no criminal convictions other than minor vehicle violations.

This was not true. He caused multiple wire transfers via interstate commerce. He also fraudulently obtained $1,868,100 in EIDL loan funds and advances he wasn’t eligible to receive.

Molling, who is charged with seven counts of wire fraud, made his initial court appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at the Orrin G. Hatch United States District Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City on Tuesday.

Special Assistant United States Attorney Sachi Jepson and Assistant United States Attorney Michael Thorpe of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah are the two people prosecuting this case.

The Utah Federal COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force is investigating this case. Those with information about the abuse of the Paycheck Protection Program and other SBA programs can submit a complaint here.

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