FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas — Two landlords have been indicted in an alleged scheme to defraud Fort Bend County of CARES Act funds.
The indictment, which was brought down on Feb. 8 by a Fort Bend County Grand Jury, alleges Roger Kurian and Matthew John frauded the county by submitting fraudulent documents to apply for CARES Act funding.
The county said they were notified about the potential fraud in December 2020 when a resident, who never applied for assistance through the CARES Act, received funding. In fact, the resident paid her rent monthly, according to officials.
This led to an investigation where it was revealed that there were some irregularities noted by the resident's landlord, One Point Investments LLC, which is owned by Kurian and John.
A further investigation revealed that between July and October of 2020, One Point Investments LLC had allegedly submitted multiple requests for rental assistance using fraudulent apartment numbers. The applications were filed using the names of real people who never applied for assistance, and who didn’t know that applications had been submitted in their names.
The leases attached to the applications were also forged.
The DA's office said one application, which the landlords made, had the name of a legitimate renter who Kurian and John were suing to evict, despite the fact they had been receiving CARES Act rental assistance for that renter.
Other businesses owned and registered to Kurian and John also applied for and received small business emergency assistance grant funds from Fort Bend County. The DA's office said the paperwork submitted for those applications also included fraudulent documents.
Records confirmed that John received $37,958 in proceeds, and Kurian received $151,820.
The two are being charged with the following:
- Tampering with a Governmental Record – State Jail felony
- Forgery of a Governmental Record – 3rd degree felony
- Theft of more than $30,000 but less than $150,00 – a 3rd degree felony, enhanced to a 2nd degree felony due to the disaster declaration in effect for the Coronavirus.
Additionally, Roger Kurian was also charged with:
- 2 counts of Forgery of a Governmental Record – 3rd degree felonies
- Tampering with a Witness – 3rd degree felony
The Fort Bend County DA's Office said information concerning CARES Act fraud should be reported to the hotline at 281-633-7283 or you can email COVID.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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