Massachusetts business owner arrested for over $18 million PPP fraud


Date: May 16, 2024


BOSTON — A Carlisle man has been arrested and charged for allegedly submitting fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications on behalf of multiple companies he owns and controls.

Durgaprasad Rao was charged with two counts of wire fraud. Rao was arrested yesterday and will make an initial appearance in federal court in Boston at 2 p.m. this afternoon. He remains in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for May 17, 2024.

According to the charging documents, Rao is the owner and operator of Accelerated Engineering, LLC., a product engineering service provider, and Upstream Global Services, Inc., a software company that provides software consulting services and temporary staffing needs.

It is alleged that, between April 2020 and May 2021, Rao submitted numerous fraudulent applications seeking over $18 million in PPP funds for various companies in multiple states including companies in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Georgia. Nine of the fraudulent PPP loan applications Rao allegedly submitted were for companies he owned and controlled. For Rao’s Massachusetts-based companies, he received nearly $7 million in PPP loans – of which, $1.5 million was approved for forgiveness.

Rao’s PPP loan applications allegedly contained false statements regarding payroll and the number of employees that worked for his companies and included fraudulent supporting documents, including false tax return documents and false payroll records. It is further alleged that Rao misused the funds he received by, among other things, transferring the funds to foreign businesses he owned and purchasing a luxury condominium in New York City.

The charges of wire fraud each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Harry Chavis, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (CI), Boston Field Office; Ketty Larco Ward, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division; and Carlisle Police Chief Andrew Amendola made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian Sullivan and David Tobin of the Major Crimes Unit are prosecuting the case.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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.