TikTok influencer laundered COVID relief funds with Bitcoin.

A 31-year-old social media influencer named Denish Sahadevan has pleaded guilty to charges related to money laundering using cryptocurrency. US prosecutors have claimed that Sahadevan fraudulently obtained more than $1.2 million in government relief loans. The Department of Justice (DoJ) has issued a press release stating that Sahadevan has admitted to committing several criminal offenses, including wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering. The accused was said to have defrauded lenders and the Small Business Administration (SBA) of more than $1.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) during a three-year criminal stint. Sahadevan deposited all the ill-gotten proceeds into bank accounts previously created for that purpose, and laundered the money by investing in trading securities and cryptocurrencies to hide any trace. As part of his plea agreement, Sahadevan will forfeit the cash, a gold-plated Bitcoin, and pay restitution of at least $429,906. The accused is scheduled for a September 21, 2023 sentencing and could potentially face 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud, 10 years for money laundering, and a mandatory two years for aggravated identity theft.