DEARBORN HEIGHTS — A Dearborn Heights man has been charged in connection with a scheme to buy a condominium in the Middle East.
The complaint claims that Wahid Mohamed Makki, 59, used more than $1 million in federal pandemic relief funding to buy a condominium in the Middle East. He is charged with wire fraud and money laundering.
According to the criminal complaint from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit, loans were obtained for 10 shell corporations and then wire-transferred to a bank in Turkey for the purchase of a “sea view condo in Beirut, Lebanon.”
Makki’s wife, Zeinab Makki, was charged the same day with health care fraud in a $10.6 million insurance fraud scheme.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loans are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that allows qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive forgivable loans to cover payroll, mortgages, rent and utilities.
The Justice Department recently named Associate Deputy Attorney General Kevin Chambers to lead efforts to combat pandemic-related fraud and the department has already taken enforcement actions related to more than $8 billion in suspected pandemic fraud, including bringing charges in more than 1,000 criminal cases involving losses of more than $1.1 billion, opening civil cases against more than 1,800 individuals and businesses for alleged fraud of more than $6 billion in loans, and seizing more than $1.2 billion in relief funds.
It was not confirmed if Makki had already secured an attorney or when he will face trial.