A Murrieta man who obtained a COVID business relief loan of more than $7 million for his pothole-repair company was sentenced Tuesday to five years behind bars for using hundreds of thousands of dollars of the Paycheck Protection Program funds for personal expenses such as luxury cars.
During his sentencing hearing in Los Angeles, Oumar Sissoko, 59, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge John F. Walter to pay $499,827 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Sissoko was convicted in April of four counts of wire fraud. A previous trial ended with a hung jury.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, in May 2020, Sissoko received $7.25 million in PPP loans through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act.
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Sissoko claimed the money would be used for his company, Road Doctor California LLC, which was about to hire 450 workers with an aggregate monthly payroll of $2.9 million.
But days after he received the money, Sissoko went on a binge, purchasing a Mercedes-Benz for $113,000, paying off a loan on a BMW, and buying an Apple computer for more than $5,000, federal prosecutors said.
He also used the money to make a non-refundable down payment of about $100,000 to purchase a company located in New Hampshire and tried to send $150,000 to accounts in the African nation of Mauritania associated with a mineral-exploration company for which Sissoko purported to serve as CEO.