Former Oregon dentist pleads guilty to stealing $11.5M in COVID relief funds

A former Oregon dentist pleaded guilty Sept. 13 to stealing nearly $11.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds for personal use. 

Salwan Adjaj, of West Linn, Ore., was charged with aggravated identity theft and wire fraud in October 2021 and arrested in December 2021. According to the Justice Department, Mr. Adaj submitted dozens of fraudulent applications to the Small Business Administration in an attempt to receive Economic Impact Disaster loans and Paycheck Protection Program funds from September 2020 through at least May 2021. 

After the Small Business Administration denied most of Mr. Adjaj's EIDL applications, he turned to the PPP program and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund with greater success. 

Mr. Adjaj remains in police custody pending sentencing. He faces a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. 

His license was suspended in August 2020 over separate allegations of misconduct involving controlled substances, for which he pleaded guilty in July. For the drug case, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $500,000 fine and three years of supervised release. 

Mr. Adjaj will be sentenced in both cases Dec. 6, the Justice Department said.

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