NewsLocal News


Rapids Theatre owner charged for fraudulent COVID-19 loan applications

Over $700,000 was allegedly obtained
Posted at 4:18 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 16:18:06-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A federal grand jury returned an indictment Tuesday charging the Rapids Theatre owner and an associate with fraud.

John L. Hutchins and Roberto Soliman face conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud charges. In addition, Hutchins is charged with making a false statement and Soliman is charged with money laundering.

It is alleged that Hutchins and Soliman filed fraudulent loan applications under both the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The money was allegedly used on personal expenses, such as payments for residential properties, a 2020 BMW, a 2020 Cadillac, homeowner association fees on a Florida condominium, and payments to relatives.

Loan information collected by ProPublica and analyzed by the 7 News I-Team show CWE Entertainment, owned by Soliman, collected a nearly $75,000 PPP loan in April, 2020.

Last year, federal investigators seized more than $400,000 from a bank account for CWE Entertainment.

Hutchins and Soliman also received four EIDL's totaling $749,500. They submitted false revenue and expense figures for the businesses on the loan applications, according to the United States Attorney's Office.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.