Virginia man pleads guilty to $1M virus fraud scheme

FILE - In this June 15, 2018, file photo, cash is fanned out from a wallet in North Andover, Mass. High-interest payday and online lenders have long been among the few options for Americans with bad credit and lower incomes. Guidance issued in the spring by federal regulators cut a previously suggested rate cap on loans and that could mean banks start lending small-dollar, high-interest loans. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File) (Elise Amendola, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A northern Virginia man has pleaded guilty to a $1.4 million fraud scheme to obtain federal funds meant for businesses struggling under the coronavirus pandemic.

Tarik Jaafar, 42, of Woodbridge, admitted in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on Tuesday that he created four shell companies to fraudulently apply for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.

Prosecutors say he and his wife filed 18 separate loan applications seeking $6.6 million. They actually received $1.4 million in loans from various banks.

His wife, Monica Magdalena Jaworska, 43, of Ashburn, is also charged in the scheme and is scheduled to plead guilty next week.

The two were arrested in June at Kennedy International Airport in New York after purchasing one-way tickets to Poland, authorities said.

The vast majority of the funds were frozen but Jaafar was able to withdraw at least $30,000 in cash, authorities said.