A California man has pleaded guilty to stealing $9 million from COVID relief funds.
According to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), a California man pled guilty to federal charges alleging that he defrauded $9 million in COVID relief loans, some of which he gambled away.
According to court filings, Andrew Marnell, 41, of Los Angeles acknowledged to unlawfully receiving seven Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans after making multiple false and deceptive statements regarding firms he managed.
Marnell falsified companies’ business activities and payroll expenses in program applications, frequently utilizing aliases and changed documents such as “bogus” federal tax filings and employee payroll records.
Marnell used millions of dollars in COVID relief loans to make “risky stock market trades” and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars gambling, including at a Las Vegas casino, after collecting money from his scheme, according to the DOJ.
The Small Business Administration launched PPP loans in March 2020 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to assist businesses with less than 500 employees, as well as organizations and sole owners.
The CARES Act, like the PPP loan, provided money to businesses harmed by the epidemic through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Programs (EIDL). Marnell also acknowledged to acquiring $170,000 in EIDL loans through deception.
He admitted to one count of bank fraud and another of engaging in a monetary transaction with illegal proceeds. According to the DOJ, the first charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years, while the second carries a maximum punishment of 10 years.
Marnell forfeited items related to the stolen PPP loan funds, according to the Department of Justice, including more than $1.54 million seized from several brokerage accounts, $319,298 in cash recovered from his home, numerous electronic devices, a Rolex Oyster watch, a Range Rover, and a Ducati motorcycle.
Marnell has agreed to pay compensation to the victim lenders to compensate for their losses, in addition to the probable 40 years he might spend in prison. According to the DOJ, the sum is estimated to be $7,341,376.
United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner is set to sentence Marnell on February 14, 2022. Since his arrest in July 2020, Marnell has been held in jail.
The COVID-19 was established by the Attorney General. This is a condensed version of the information.