Man Spent Part of Fraudulent $1.1 Million PPP Loan on Crypto

Reading Time: 2 minutes
  • A Houston resident has spent a large part of a fraudulently obtained $1.1 million PPP loan on cryptocurrency
  • Joshua Argires claimed two loans, putting the entirety of one loan into a crypto account
  • There have been several cases where individuals have out their stimulus checks into crypto, which is not advisable

A crypto fan from Houston has been arrested after fraudulently obtaining coronavirus Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans totalling $1.1 million and putting much of it into a crypto account. Joshua Thomas Argires, 29, has been charged by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) with allegedly making false statements to financial institutions, committing wire and bank fraud, and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions in his pursuit of the money, which are designed to help businesses keep employees on their payroll during the coronavirus pandemic.

PPP Loans Fraudulently Obtained

The complaint states that Argires filed for two PPP loans totalling $1.1 million – one on behalf of a company called Texas Barbecue and another on behalf of Houston Landscaping. In the applications, Argires claimed the companies had “numerous” employees and “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in payroll expenses. The DoJ alleges that neither Texas Barbecue nor Houston Landscaping have the number of employees or the payroll expenses Argires claims.

Entire Business Loan Put Into Crypto

Not only did Argires illegally obtain the loans, he also failed to use them for the stated purpose of paying employees or for other business expenses authorized under the provisions of the PPP. Instead, the DoJ alleges that Argires put the Texas Barbeque loan into a crypto account and the Houston Landscaping loan into a bank account which was then slowly depleted through ATM withdrawals. Argires has not entered a plea, and court date has yet to be set.

FullyCrypto advised against putting stimulus checks towards a speculative play such as cryptocurrencies, but we didn’t think we would also have to warn against doing so with fraudulently obtained loans of over a million dollars. But we are.