Owner of SoCal-based ambulatory transportation companies indicted for alleged tax evasion and COVID-19 relief fraud


Date: May 22, 2024

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Santa Ana, CA — A federal grand jury today returned a superseding indictment charging an Orange County man with wire fraud and money laundering for allegedly making fraudulent claims to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, two federal programs created to provide financial assistance to Americans suffering economic harm because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the superseding indictment, from May 2020 to December 2021, Mehrdad “Mitch” Tabrizi, of Aliso Viejo, submitted two fraudulent PPP applications on behalf of Life Fleet Inc., a Riverside-based business he owned, seeking $695,565 in loans. In the applications, Tabrizi allegedly claimed that Life Fleet had at least 54 employees and monthly payroll obligations of $139,313. After receiving the PPP funds, Tabrizi allegedly used the proceeds for personal expenses. Similarly, Tabrizi allegedly filed a false EIDL application claiming that Life Fleet had gross revenues of more than $4 million and 63 employees. However, Life Fleet allegedly was not in business, had no revenue and had no employees.

Tabrizi also allegedly filed a fraudulent EIDL application in the name of Resonante Group Inc., an Anaheim-based company he controlled. According to the superseding indictment, this EIDL application falsely claimed Resonante Group had gross revenues of more than $19 million and over 300 employees. As a result, the Small Business Administration allegedly disbursed approximately $319,800 into bank accounts controlled by Tabrizi, which he was not entitled to receive and used for personal expenses.

Tabrizi was previously charged with tax evasion and filing false tax returns. According to the superseding indictment, Tabrizi operated SoCal Medical Transportation Inc., a Riverside-based company. In 2015 and 2016, Tabrizi allegedly deposited approximately $2.6 million of income into a bank account but did not disclose these funds to the CPA firm he hired to prepare SoCal Medical’s corporate tax returns. Instead, Tabrizi allegedly informed the CPA firm that these funds had been received by a separate business.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each of four counts of wire fraud, 10 years in prison for each of four counts of money laundering, five years in prison for each of two counts of tax evasion and three years in prison for each of two counts of filing false tax returns. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) is investigating the case.

Assistant United States Attorney Brett A. Sagel of the Corporate and Securities Fraud Strike Force and Trial Attorneys Christopher E. Lin and Boris Bourget of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting this case.

CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a more than a 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.