• Salwan Adjaj, 43, was charged with aggravated identity theft and wire fraud
  • He sent several fraudulent loan applications to two government economic relief programs
  • Adjaj's applications generated nearly $8 million in fraudulent loan payouts

A 43-year-old former dentist in Oregon was arrested this week after he fraudulently obtained nearly $8 million in government loans that were intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Salwan Adjaj, of West Linn, was charged with aggravated identity theft and wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon said in a statement released Wednesday.

Adjaj submitted dozens of fraudulent loan applications to the Small Business Administration (SBA) in an attempt to obtain funds via the Economic Impact Disaster Loan (EIDL), an economic relief program that enabled the SBA to issue low-interest loans to small businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to court documents.

The former dentist used the names and employer identification numbers of fictitious business entities in his EIDL applications, prosecutors said. He also provided false information about the businesses' start dates, number of employees and locations as well as the identities of purported applicants and business owners.

All of the applications were submitted online from an internet protocol address associated with Adjaj's dental practice. Most of them were submitted in other peoples' names but had Adjaj's residence listed as the business mailing address.

The SBA rejected most of Adjaj's EIDL applications, but he later sent fraudulent applications to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), a pandemic relief program authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act that was specifically aimed at supporting restaurants, bars and other food and drink-related businesses.

Adjaj's three RRF applications submitted back in March for Florida restaurants allegedly located in Sarasota, Miami and Dayton Beach also contained false business information just like his EIDL applications. They also listed his residence as the mailing address.

The applications generated Adjaj nearly $8 million in fraudulent loan payouts. He was arrested Tuesday following alleged pretrial release violations.

Adjaj was detained pending further court proceedings.

The case against Adjaj was investigated by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the SBA's Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

PPP, EIDL, and MSLP loans all come with different restrictions on how their funds can be spent.
PPP, EIDL, and MSLP loans all come with different restrictions on how their funds can be spent. Jernej Furman/Flickr