comscore Honolulu man arrested for alleged fraud in $12.8M federal coronavirus relief funds | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Honolulu man arrested for alleged fraud in $12.8M federal coronavirus relief funds

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / FEB. 18
                                The U.S. District Court as seen.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / FEB. 18

    The U.S. District Court as seen.

A Honolulu man has been taken into custody on allegations he fraudulently obtained more than $12.8 million in federal coronavirus relief funds, federal law enforcement officials announced today.

Martin Kao, 47, the chief executive officer of Navatek LLC, was charged with two counts of bank fraud and one count of money laundering.

U.S. Attorney Kenji M. Price announced the charges this afternoon. Kao will make his initial appearance Thursday at 9:30 a.m. before U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield.

The complaint, unsealed today, alleges that Kao submitted at least two fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loan applications and received approximately $12.8 million — $2 million of which he transferred to his own personal accounts.

According to the charges, Kao falsely inflated the number of employees on the loan application and falsely certified that the applicant and its affiliates would not receive, and had not received, another PPP loan.

The PPP program is part of the CARES Act, which was enacted by Congress March 29 to provide emergency financial to those suffering the economic effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Navatek issued a statement shortly after 5 p.m. today.

“Navatek is a highly reputable company with a long record of service to its clients and the people of Hawai‘i. The government’s actions today were a complete surprise. As a company, we will address the allegations and have retained legal counsel to review these claims,” according to a news release.

US v. Kao Complaint by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported a higher count of money laundering.

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