Former social media influencer pleads guilty to over $1.2M COVID-19 loan fraud

TikTok influencer "Danny Devan," has pleaded guilty to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering. 

31-year-old Denish Sahadevan from Potomac, Maryland, admitted to scamming lenders and the Small Business Administration out of over $1.2 million in COVID-19 relief loans. 

Sahadevan, who is also known as Danny Devan, has a popular TikTok where he posts videos about "stocks and crypto economics." 

Sahadevan pleaded guilty to creating fake documents such as tax forms and bank statements to obtain Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP") loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans ("EIDL"). He also used the identifying information of a tax preparer that he knew to legitimize the fabricated tax forms he created, without that person's knowledge. 

Beginning in March 2020, Sahadevan applied for approximately 71 PPP loans totaling approximately $941,794.75, and successfully obtained approximately $146,000 in PPP benefits. He forged his father's signature on the applications for eight EIDL loans, which he then received, totaling $283,900.

Officials say he laundered the funds by purchasing and trading securities and cryptocurrency, settling personal debts and making payments to his girlfriend.

On February 24, 2023, police executed a search warrant at Sahadevan's home in Potomac and found multiple electronic devices, a can containing approximately 18 driver’s licenses belonging to other individuals, what appeared to be a gold physical Bitcoin in a black case, and approximately $17,043 in cash found in a suitcase in a bedroom closet. 

Sentencing is scheduled for September 21, 2023. Sahadevan faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for wire fraud, 10 years for money laundering, and a mandatory two-year sentence for aggravated identity theft.