Johnson City man convicted of defrauding government

Published 8:17 pm Monday, April 1, 2024

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News Release

On March 18, 2024, Ketan Ghutadaria, 53, of Johnson City, Tennessee was sentenced to 24 months in prison by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, United States District Judge, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville. Following his release from imprisonment, Ghutadaria will be on supervised release for one year, and he will be required to pay restitution in the amount of $100,300.

As part of a plea agreement filed with the court, Ghutadaria agreed to plead guilty to Aggravated Identity Theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1), in connection with a scheme to defraud the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) program, a federal program authorized to provide loans to small businesses experiencing substantial financial disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act.

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As set forth in the filed plea agreement, on March 31, 2020, Ghutadaria submitted an electronic application to the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) requesting an EIDL on behalf of a local trucking company. Ghutadaria used the business owner’s personal identification information to apply for the EIDL without the business owner’s knowledge or authority. The SBA approved the EIDL application based on the fraudulent information provided by Ghutadaria. On June 16, 2020, the SBA transferred $100,300 in EIDL funds into a bank account that Ghutadaria had access to. Between June 16, 2020, and September 2020, Ghutadaria spent approximately all the EIDL funds to pay off student loans, to pay off a motor vehicle loan, and on other personal items.

U.S. Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III of the Eastern District of Tennessee and United States Secret Service (“USSS”) Resident Agent in Charge, Jason Brown, made the announcement.

The case was investigated by Special Agent Thomas Whitehead of the USSS.

Assistant United States Attorneys Mac Heavener and Ryan Blackwell represented the United States.