REEDLEY – A duo of Valley congressmen are seeking an investigation into Chinese nationals who owned an illegal lab in Reedley, while accepting about $150,000 in payroll protection program loans.
In a rare display of bipartisan cooperation, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and Congressman Jim Costa, co-wrote a letter to the head of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC). They targeted Universal MediTech/Prestige Biotech, Inc. (UMI/PB) in their letter while identifying they were issued two separate loans in April 2020 and February 2021.
In the letter, dated Aug. 8, 2023, Costa and McCarthy asked Ms. Jenny Rone to investigate the situation to “determine whether any wrongdoing has taken place, and if so, recover taxpayer dollars and seek appropriate punishment of the entity and individuals involved.”
“It has now been determined that this company was not a legitimate business,” Costa and McCarthy stated in their letter. They added that UMI/PB President Xiuquin Yao “has not been transparent, and information provided about its business operations has led to empty buildings or addresses in China that could not be verified.”
The authors described the situation as alarming. They added, “…we remain concerned that these illegal activities were reportedly sustained with federal taxpayer dollars intended to assist legitimate businesses as they worked to survive through the pandemic.”
According to the Pandemic Oversight website, PRAC, which was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, oversees more than $5 trillion in pandemic relief programs and spending. Its mission is “to promote transparency and use data to detect fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement.”