SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A federal grand jury has indicted the former head of the Utah State University Muslim Students Club for alleged fraud involving COVID-19 funds from the CARES Act, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Mubarak Sulaiman Ukashat, 36, of Kaysville, who was living in Taylorsville at the time of the alleged crime, supposedly submitted four false applications to the U.S. Small Business Association under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Ukashat faces four counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and two counts of money laundering. He is no longer a student of USU.
The DOJ press release explaining the indictment noted that the suspect is a “foreign national” but did not note his country of origin.
U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins for the District of Utah claimed Ukashat used the names of “four people he had no connection to and directed the proceeds to be sent to the USUSA Muslim Students Club bank account at America First Credit Union, over which Ukashat had custody and control.” He then allegedly transferred that money to another AFCU account, which he had control over and held jointly with another relative of his.
In all, he allegedly applied for, obtained and spent over $300,000. Purchases made between June 2020 and July 2020 included, among others:
- $45,900 for a GMC Yukon in cash
- $27,000 to electronic retailers
- $21,000 to pay off a car loan
- $20,000 for other debts
- $10,000 in “earnest money to buy a house”
- $5,200 for college expenses
- $15,000 in wired money to someone in Nigeria
- $20,000 in wired money to someone in Dubai
Ukashat is scheduled to appear for his first court appearance Friday morning at 2:15 p.m. at the Orrin G. Hatch U.S. District Courthouse in Salt Lake City.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline via the NCDF Web Complaint Form.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.