NYC Indian Ophthalmologist Dr. Ameet Goyal Indicted for Defrauding COVID-19 SBA Program
June 24, 2020 - NYC Indian Ophthalmologist Ameet Goyal (57) from Rye, NY has been charged today in a superseding indictment for fraudulently obtaining Government-guaranteed loans intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic while on pretrial release.
NYC Indian Eye Doctor Ameet Goyal was previously indicted for healthcare fraud offenses related to Medicare and Medicaid billing in November 2019.
And, due to pending criminal charges, Dr Ameet Goyal and his ophthalmology practice The Eye Assocates Group were ineligible for Covid-19 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) administered by Small Business Administration.
Also, according to the Covid-19 PPP rules a business is eligible to obtain only one loan and is required to certifiy that it has not and will not receive another loan until December 31, 2020.
Despite the ineligibility on prior criminal charges and against the PPP rules, Dr Ameet Goyal applied and obtained two PPP loans totaling over $630,000 by submitting separate applications with different business names for the same ophthalmology practice.
According to the Superseding Indictment filed June 24, 2020 against Dr. Ameet Goyal in White Plains federal court:
During the relevant time period, GOYAL owned and operated Ameet Goyal, M.D. P.C., an ophthalmology practice doing business as Eye Associates Group, Rye Eye Associates, and other business names. On November 21, 2019, an indictment (the “Indictment”) was returned in the action United States of America v. Ameet Goyal, 19 Cr. 844 (CS) (S.D.N.Y.), charging GOYAL with healthcare fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements relating to healthcare matters. On November 22, 2019, GOYAL was arraigned on the Indictment and placed on pretrial release pursuant to an order that notified GOYAL of the potential effect of committing a criminal offense while on pretrial release.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of hundreds of billions of dollars in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the SBA’s PPP.
Applicants with pending criminal charges are ineligible for PPP loans. One question on the PPP borrower application form (the “Pending Charges Question”) requires the applicant to answer “Yes” or “No” and put their initial next to the response to the following question: “Is the Applicant (if an individual) or any individual owning 20% or more of the equity of the Applicant subject to an indictment, criminal information, arraignment, or other means by which formal criminal charges are brought in any jurisdiction, or presently incarcerated, or on probation or parole?” The application expressly advises that if the Pending Charges Question is answered “Yes,” then “the loan will not be approved.”
The PPP also limits each eligible borrower to one loan, and a maximum loan amount calculated based on a business’s average monthly payroll expenses. The PPP application requires the applicant to certify and initial the representation that “During the period beginning on February 15, 2020 and ending on December 31, 2020, the Applicant has not and will not receive another loan under the Paycheck Protection Program.”
In or about April 2020, GOYAL applied to the SBA and Bank-1, a federally insured institution, for over $630,000 in Government-guaranteed loans through the SBA’s PPP. Specifically, on or about April 21, 2020, GOYAL applied for a loan (“Loan-1”) in the amount of $358,700 for the business “Ameet Goyal,” doing business as “Eye associates.” GOYAL represented the applicant as a C-corporation with a business address in Rye, New York (“Business Address-1”), and supplied his own social security number as the applicant’s business identification number.
On or about April 29, 2020, GOYAL applied for a second loan (“Loan-2”) from Bank-1 under the PPP, this time in the amount of $278,500. On this application, GOYAL listed the applicant’s name as “Rye eye associates,” a sole proprietorship also located at Business Address-1. For the applicant’s business identification number, GOYAL reported the Employer Identification Number for Ameet Goyal, M.D. P.C. To substantiate each loan, however, GOYAL submitted the exact same underlying payroll expense report, showing the same employees and payroll costs.
On each application, GOYAL stated that he was the president and 100% owner of the respective applicant, and that he did not own any business other than the listed applicant. On both applications, GOYAL falsely answered “No” to the Pending Charges Question, and electronically placed his initials “AG” directly under his “No” response. GOYAL also falsely certified, among other things, that the applicant will not receive another PPP loan until the end of the year.
After processing each of GOYAL’s signed and certified applications, which used different business names, business identification numbers, email addresses, and loan amounts, Bank-1 advised GOYAL that the respective application was approved by the SBA, and that the applicant would need to execute a loan note in order for the loan to be funded. Bank-1’s signing instructions to each loan note advised, “REMINDER: The Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, has determined that no eligible borrower may receive more than one PPP loan. A one loan per borrower limitation is necessary to help ensure that as many eligible borrowers as possible obtain PPP loans. If you have already received a PPP loan, you may not execute a loan note for another.”
On or about May 3, 2020, GOYAL executed the Loan-1 loan note for $358,700, and received the funds in full on or about May 4, 2020. On or about May 2 and 4, 2020, GOYAL executed multiple identical versions of the loan note for Loan-2 for $278,500, and received those funds in full on or about May 11, 2020.
Charges Against Dr. Ameet GoyalNYC Indian doctor Ameet Goyal is charged with six counts in the Superseding Indictment:
- One count of healthcare fraud
- One count of wire fraud
- One count of making false statements relating to healthcare matters
- One count of bank fraud
- One count of making false statements on a loan application
- One count of making false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the Government of the United States
Potential PenaltyOn the first count of healthcare fraud, NYC Indian eye doctor Ameet Goyal faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
The second count of wire fraud against Dr. Ameet Goyal carries a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison.
And the third count of making false statements relating to health care matters against Dr. Ameet Goyal carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The fourth and fifth counts of bank fraud and making false statements on a loan application against Dr Goyal carries a maximum sentence of thirty years each in prison.
And on the sixth count of making false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the Government of the United States, NYC Indian eye doctor Ameet Goyal faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The above mentioned maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided for informational purposes only and any sentencing of the defendant Dr. Ameet Goyal will be determined by the judge.
NYC Indian Ophthalmologist Dr. Ameet Goyal is scheduled to be arraigned in White Plains federal court on June 26, 2020.