A Pleasanton husband and wife who ran a chain of convenience stores in Northern California have been sentenced in federal court in San Francisco for crimes uncovered in a loan fraud investigation.
U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello said the prosecution of Ashraf Ali, 55, and his wife, Yasmin Ali, 52, stemmed from a probe of false loan applications for loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Russoniello said Ashraf Ali organized a scheme with other store owners and partners to submit $4.4 million worth of false loan applications between 1998 and 2003.
Ashraf Ali was convicted of conspiring to make false statements to influence banks and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel last week to 13 months in prison. Patel also ordered him to pay a fine of $1.2 million.
In separate case, Yasmin Ali was convicted of harboring 24 undocumented foreign citizens who worked at the stores owned and controlled by the couple.
She was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton last week to six months of house arrest, three years of probation, 150 hours of community service and a $100,000 fine.
Russoniello said 12 other people have been sentenced to probation and given fines for convictions for money laundering, making false statements to the Small Business Administration or to banks, or employing unauthorized individuals.
He said all the defendants have lost their state liquor sales licenses and have agreed to repay the Small Business Administration loans. More than $4 million has already been repaid, he said.
Russoniello said the case was the most extensive loan fraud scheme ever detected by the Small Business Administration in the western United States.