ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The U.S. Attorney’s Office has accused a Rochester man of using the identities of dozens of small businesses to apply for loans in their names without their knowledge.

52-year-old Paul Paredes is charged with wire fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.

Investigators said Paredes owned J&E Business Consulting, LLC, which provided services such as acting as a broker between small retailers and credit card processing companies.

In January of this year, the FBI was tipped off by a financial lending company that it made a number of loans to J&E customers for “equipment financing”, yet, received very few repayments.

The lender conducted its own investigation and determined those businesses had no knowledge of those loans, and never received any equipment. In total, the lender paid almost two million dollars to J&E through 42 loan applications between May and November of 2022.

Only four percent of those funds were used for business expenses, the complaint said. The rest was used to repay some of the loans to the primary lending institution along with other loan companies. Money was also used for personal expenses, such as vehicles, travel, and credit cards.

Paredes faces a maximum of two years in prison and a $500,000 fine. He is due back in federal court on October 18.