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Kukaj Pled Guilty to PPP Loan Fraud and Threat Now in Prison as Co-Defendant Pleads Guilty

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTROOM EXCLUSIVE, July 21 -  In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on November 1, 2022 defendant Besim Kukaj appeared before Judge Andrew L. Carter to plead guilty to two charges. Inner City Press was there:

Kukaj is charged with a scheme to obtain $3.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program Loans and making interstate threats to a victim to whom he owed money.

Plea deal is for 70 to 87 months.

In allocution he says he used his restaurants

Q: Once released on bail in Oct 2020, did you continue to file false PPP loan applications? Defendant: Yes.

Q: Which banks? A: PNC, and Empire Bank in Orange County.

[Judge Carter noted that he owns stock in JPM Chase where his wife used to work as a lawyer, and BONY Mellon, where she now works.]

Count 2: Defendant had another say, Close yr f-ing mouth or I will. AUSA: Victim was in Manhattan

Plea accepted.

Afterward Judge Carter asked if either side wanted to redact the name of the man who made the threat. Neither did - he was charged with the conduct.

The docket shows he is Abduraman Iseni, and he was applying for compassionate release.

On February 9, 2024 co-defendant Melsa Skrapalliu pled guilty, with sentencing set for June 13 at 2 pm.

The criminal case is US v. Kukaj, et al., 20-cr-660 (Carter)

 But that wasn't it. Jump cut to July 21, 2023 before SDNY Judge Denise Cote, when Kukaj's wife Spranee Penthamrongrat was alone in court, asking for more time to hire a lawyer to defend. She said she just had child number seven; the plaintiff lawyer said her husband is in jail. She was given until August 18 to hire counsel and answer the complaint. Otherwise, default hearing on September 7 at 11 am.

This civil was is Campos, et al., v. V&B Investment Guttenberg LLC, 23-cv-1184 (Cote)



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