- Ranjan Rajbanshi, 46, faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and must pay back improperly used funds.
An Indian American dentist has pleaded guilty to stealing $500,000 in COVID-19 relief money, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced last week. Ranjan Rajbanshi, 46, who ran a dental practice in Bakersfield and Santa Barbara in California received over $850,000 in COVID-19 relief-money from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
For almost two years, between April 2020 and February 2022, “he represented to the government that he would only use the relief money for specified business purposes such as facility costs, payroll, and protective equipment for him and his staff,” However, the DOJ says “he used $500,000 of the relief money for improper personal expenditures such as investments.”
Rajbanshi is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ana de Alba on Dec. 4. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. He has also agreed to pay the half million dollars used improperly back to the government before his sentencing.