DENVER — In a plea agreement with the government, a Centennial man pleaded guilty to wire fraud and will head to prison for the next two-and-a-half years after scheming to steal $708,141 from taxpayers during the pandemic.
Anthony Zaghab, 52, was also ordered to pay back the entire amount of money he stole after lying on applications for Paycheck Protection Program funds, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and unemployment, 9WTK has learned.
Federal court records say Zaghab used different business entities he controlled on paper to obtain the stolen funds, including entities in the name of family members and his deceased father.
It’s not exactly clear what Zaghab did with all the stolen funds, however court documents indicate he put $250,000 toward the mortgage for a home held in his wife’s name. Zaghab also turned over $120,070 to the government when he was caught, according to court records.
Zaghab is the first Coloradan to be sentenced for COVID-19 relief fraud on the federal level.
“Pandemic-relief funds were supposed to be used to save small businesses,” said Colorado United States Attorney Cole Finegan. “We are holding criminals accountable for stealing from the generosity of the American taxpayer.”
Zaghab declined several requests by 9NEWS for comment.
When he is released from prison, Zaghab will be placed on probation for three years.
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