A Los Angeles man, Andrew Marnell has been arrested and charged for fraudulently acquiring at least $8 million in coronavirus aid, some of which he then used on gambling at the Las Vegas casinos and transferred a hefty amount to his stock trading account. The US Department of Justice said that the man has been held without bond.
Marnell did most of the fraud by depositing fraudulent loan papers to the authorities and extracted the money in phases. Investigations are on and prosecutors believe that the amount could go up further. If proved guilty, Marnell could end up serving a long sentence in prison.
Duping the Fed
Marnell, 40, was arrested by federal authorities and charged with one count of bank fraud for allegedly duping the Fed and obtaining more than $8 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans launched to help millions of Americans suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Prosecutors said that Marnell obtained the loans through applications to insured financial institutions, and others, on behalf of different companies. All the applications were made by using fraudulent and false documents and identifications that were aliases of Marnell.
That is just a part of his fraudulent activities. During the court hearing, prosecutors said that they believe that Marnell siphoned of around $9 million in fraudulent loans and the amount could further rise as investigations are still on. The affidavit in support of the complaint also alleges Marnell of often submitting bogus federal tax filings and employee payroll records to claim the loans.
Blown Away in Vegas
The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) under the CARES Act was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Small businesses and other organizations qualify for the PPP to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of one percent.
Marnell took this opportunity to show that he owns several businesses under different aliases and obtained the money through checks over the past couple of months. However, he didn't stop there. The complaint further alleges him of transferring millions of dollars from the fraudulently obtained loan to his brokerage accounts.
He then used that money to make risky stock market bets. It is still to be found if he lost that money or multiplied them into millions more. Also, Marnell's addiction made his spend a portion of the fraudulently obtained money at Las Vegas casinos. Marnell allegedly spent the money at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino and other gambling establishments "as recently as last weekend."
If proved guilty of bank fraud, Marnell could end up serving 30 years in jail. However, investigations could lead authorities to slap more charges on him that could further extend the sentence if proved guilty.