LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A San Fernando Valley man has been scheduled for sentencing Dec. 5 for fraudulently obtaining $345,108 in COVID-19 pandemic relief loans from a financial institution and the Small Business Administration.
Artur Chanchikyan, 55, of Porter Ranch, pleaded guilty Thursday, Aug. 24, to one federal count of wire fraud, according to the US Attorney’s Office.
Chanchikyan was the owner of Gentle Touch Home Health Care Inc., a home health agency located in North Hollywood. In December 2019, he was placed under Medicare payment suspension based on fraud allegations. While under suspension, Chanchikyan applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan seeking $160,000 on behalf of Gentle Touch. In the application, Chanchikyan lied about the number of his employees and average monthly payroll expenses, documents filed in Los Angeles federal court show.
As a result, Gentle Touch received about $45,472 in PPP loan proceeds.
Around April 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services’ relief fund program deposited around $139,736 into Gentle Touch’s bank account. The fund was designed to help health care providers that were financially impacted by COVID-19, as well as to provide care to patients who were suffering from COVID-19 and compensate providers for the cost of that care.
In May 2020, Chanchikyan falsely certified to HHS that he would use the funds to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19 or to reimburse Gentle Touch for health care related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 as required.
Additionally, around July 2020, Chanchikyan submitted an application to the SBA seeking a low-interest loan. In the application, he falsely reported the number of employees at Gentle Touch, and falsely certified that the loan would be used for permissible business purposes. As a result, Gentle Touch received about $159,900 in Economic Injury Disaster Loan proceeds, prosecutors said.
Chanchikyan admitted using the federal funds for his own benefit, according to his plea agreement.
When sentenced, Chanchikyan will face up to 20 years behind bars, prosecutors noted.