(QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Seven days ago, President Joe Biden put people on notice.

“The watchdogs are back and we’re going to go after the criminals who stole billions of relief money meant for small businesses and millions of Americans,” said Biden during the State of the Union address.

The crackdown on fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loans is in the crosshairs of the Department of Justice.

Cases have started to play out in the Queen City with opening arguments in the case of the ‘La Shish Kabob’ restaurant.

The government alleges Izzat Freitekh and his son Tarik Freitekh obtained $1.7 million fraudulently. The government claims false applications were submitted by three companies including La Shish Kabob restaurant, and La Shish Catering.

“We’ve been suffering the pain and it’s about time, next week the whole world is going to know the truth and justice will prevail,” said Tarik Freitekh, as he walked out of the United States courthouse in Charlotte. 

Queen City News Chief Legal Correspondent, Seema Iyer, was in the courtroom and speaking to one of the defendants as he left the federal courthouse.

Iyer said this case could set the precedent for others facing similar charges given the words of the president, and the track record of prosecutors in the Western District of North Carolina.

“Other federal prosecutors sometimes don’t go after the small guys, but here in Charlotte, they go after everybody. They try a lot of cases here,” added Iyer.

The government says they have retrieved $1.3 million from the La Shish Kabob case and the feds will be looking for more.

“There is no crime that is too small, added Iyer. “Why would you not prosecute even someone who let’s say filed a false document for a $500 loan.”