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Web pages used to show information for collecting unemployment insurance in Virginia, right, and reporting fraud and identity theft in Pennsylvania, are displayed on the respective state web pages, on Feb. 26, 2021, in Zelienople, Pa. According to reports on Saturday, April 9, 2022, a Washington D.C. man pleaded guilty to fraudulently taking $31 million in pandemic relief.

Web pages used to show information for collecting unemployment insurance in Virginia, right, and reporting fraud and identity theft in Pennsylvania, are displayed on the respective state web pages, on Feb. 26, 2021, in Zelienople, Pa. According to reports on Saturday, April 9, 2022, a Washington D.C. man pleaded guilty to fraudulently taking $31 million in pandemic relief. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

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WASHINGTON - A Washington D.C. man pleaded guilty Friday to wire-fraud and money-laundering charges after authorities said he stole about $31 million in federal pandemic-relief funds over a 10-month period.

Elias Eldabbagh, 30, faces 11- to 14-years in prison for fraudulently obtaining money from the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program, according to the U.S. attorney's office in the District of Columbia. Through his company, Alias Systems, he received more than $30 million in 25 separate paycheck-protection loans and nearly $1 million in loans from the economic injury program from July 2020 to May last year, the office said in a statement.

"Eldabbagh used a stolen identity to disguise the ownership of Alias Systems" and "used the same stolen identity to submit the vast majority of [loan] applications," the statement said. He "also used stolen identities, stolen tax returns and stolen financial records from a Washington, D.C., consulting firm" to obtain fraudulent loans.

As part of a plea deal, prosecutors said, Eldabbagh has agreed to forfeit a Telsa Model 3 automobile, the contents of 21 bank accounts and an undisclosed of amount of cryptocurrency. Authorities did not say how much of the $31 million has been recovered.

Eldabbagh is scheduled be sentenced Aug. 25 in U.S. District Court in Washington.


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