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Owasso man convicted in COVID-19 loan scam

Owasso man convicted in COVID-19 loan scam

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A jury has convicted an Owasso man of four criminal counts related to a scam to obtain bogus COVID-19 small-business loans.

Olusola Ojo, 42, was found guilty Thursday following a four-day trial in Tulsa federal court of two counts of bank fraud and one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

“A jury has found Olusola Ojo guilty on all charges related to a Paycheck Protection Program bank fraud conspiracy,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “He was taken into custody to await sentencing.

“Criminals should understand that diverting taxpayer money meant to help struggling small businesses survive during the pandemic will be fully investigated and prosecuted.

“Inspectors and agents from the Federal Reserve, Small Business Administration, and FBI are to be commended for their work in this case.”

Ojo was named along with two others in a series of grand jury indictments dating back to July 2020 that involved over $5 million in small-business Paycheck Protection Program loans.

The indictment alleged that Ojo and one co-defendant, Ibanga Etuk, conspired to commit bank fraud between April 1 and Aug. 4, 2020.

Ojo and Etuk created 18 businesses that would fraudulently apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans under false pretenses such as the number of employees, payroll expenditures, taxes paid during previous months, details of business ownership and a false representation of their relationship with one another, according to the indictment.

Etuk and his wife, Teosha Etuk, who was charged later, have already pleaded guilty to crimes linked to their part in the scheme.

Ibanga Etuk was sentenced to serve four years in prison. His wife is serving a 12-month, one-day prison term.

Ojo is scheduled to be sentenced April 1.


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