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    Two Charged with $4M C-store Fraud

    Two Illinois men were accused of creating shell companies fronted by family members to purchase several convenience stores.

    DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Two Illinois men have been charged with using convenience stores throughout Iowa to bilk the Small Business Administration and a private lender of $4 million, as reported in the Quad City Times.

    Sukhdev "Sam" Singh and Surinder "Sam" Pal Singh Multani were arrested after a multiple-year grand-jury investigation that resulted in 300 subpoenas and more than 200,000 documents that take up 70 feet of shelving, according to officials cited by the newspaper.

    Singh and Multani allegedly created shell companies fronted by family members to purchase and operate several convenience stores, then submitting false loan applications to the Small Business Administration and a private company called the Business Loan Center, the report stated. The two allegedly made it appear as if the individuals "had made capital contributions or down payments towards the purchase from their own funds and had more assets or financial net worth than actually existed," according to court documents cited by the newspaper. Then, they supposedly deposited the proceeds from those loans into their bank accounts, according to the report.

    Singh, of Naperville, Ill., made his first appearance in U.S. District Court in Davenport, Iowa, last week. He was arrested last month in Indiana. Multani, of Schaumburg, Ill., made his initial appearance in November, the report stated.

    Singh allegedly operated businesses under the name RPS Petroleum and U.S. Petro Inc., which listed Singh with a Davenport, Iowa address. Multani allegedly operated businesses named Abacus Finance and Cal Park Marathon, the report stated.

    In addition, Singh and Multani allegedly prompted the purchase of convenience stores and their contents at inflated prices, and reportedly found and enlisted buyers for these properties who could not qualify for financing, the report stated.

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