Ambulance Company Owner Charged with COVID-19 Relief Fraud

Ambulance Company Owner Charged with COVID-19 Relief Fraud

An ambulance transporting a patient is reflected in the window of another ambulance in Los Angeles, in a file photo. (David McNew/Getty Images)

City News Service
City News Service

5/24/2024

Updated: 5/24/2024

0

SANTA ANA, Calif.—The owner of a Riverside-based ambulance company was charged in a superseding indictment returned May 22 with wire fraud and money laundering related to COVID-19 relief.
Mehrdad “Mitch” Tabrizi of Aliso Viejo was accused of submitting two applications for $695,565 in loans from the federal government for his Life Fleet Inc. company from May 2020 to December 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Mr. Tabrizi allegedly claimed the non-emergency ambulatory company had 54 employees and monthly payroll of $139,313, but he spent the money on personal expenses, prosecutors said.
He was also accused of claiming that the company had gross revenues exceeding $4 million and 63 employees, prosecutors said.
He was also accused of filing a fraudulent application for Anaheim-based Rosonante Group Inc., which he also controlled, prosecutors said. He allegedly falsely claimed gross revenues exceeding $19 million and about 300 employees, and received about $319,000 from the Small Business Administration, prosecutors said.
Mr. Tabrizi was also accused of spending the money on himself, prosecutors said.
The defendant was initially charged with tax evasion and filing false tax returns. He was accused in 2015 and 2016 of depositing about $2.6 million into a bank account but failed to disclose the money to a CPA firm he hired to prepare corporate tax returns for Riverside-based SoCal Medical Transportation Inc., another company he was in charge of, prosecutors said.
Mr. Tabrizi’s attorney, Michael Vincent Severo, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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