Food truck owner charged with pandemic relief fraud

July 20, 2022 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — The owner of a Massachusetts food truck business who authorities say misused most of the $1.5 million in federal pandemic relief funding he obtained by investing it in the stock market has been arrested, federal authorities said.

Loc Vo, 55, faces a charge of wire fraud, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.

Vo owned Smart Gourmet LLC, a food truck business in Massachusetts, as well as a dormant Maryland company.

Vo submitted loan applications between April 2020 and July 2021 on behalf of the businesses under three Small Business Administration pandemic relief programs, requesting about $1.5 million that was supposed to be used for rent, mortgage interest, payroll, and utilities, among other eligible expenses, prosecutors said.

Instead, he transferred most of the money to brokerage accounts in his name to invest in the stock market, purchasing shares in an electric car manufacturer and a biotechnology company, among others, authorities said.

He will be arraigned at a date to be determined. No defense attorney was listed in court records. A message was left at a phone listing for Vo’s company.

Vo faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.