SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The United States Attorney`s Office announced a grand jury has indicted a Bartonsville man on bank fraud and money laundering charges after they say he unlawfully applied for a COVID relief loan.

According to the United States Attorney John C. Gurganus, Nazim Hassam, age 70, of Bartonsville, applied and received multiple loans under the federal paycheck protection program while making false statements on the applications.

As stated in court documents, in 2019 Hassam was charged with sex and drug trafficking out of two businesses he co-owns, the Pocono Plaza Inn and Om Sri Sai. According to officials, when Hassam was asked if he or the companies applying for the loans were under indictment, he lied and answered no.

The indictment stated that Hassam fraudulently obtained loans totaling $89,308. The court also stated Hassam would use the majority of the money he received for unlawful transactions.

If Hassam is found guilty, he faces a maximum of 120 years in jail.

In the video block below, Nazim Hassam is seen at a federal court appearance in Wilkes-Barre in November of 2017.

Back in October of 2020, Hassam, along with his nephew, Faizal Bhimani were convicted of aiding and abetting sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion as well as drug trafficking conspiracy at the Pocono Plaza Inn Hotel, according to then U.S. Attorney David Freed.

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 at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF web complaint form.