A Los Angeles man is accused of defrauding millions from the federal paycheck protection program and then losing a significant portion of the money spent on gambling junkets in Las Vegas and risky stock purchases.
40-year-old Andrew Marnell has been charged with bank fraud in a criminal complaint, according to a press release from the Los Angeles State Attorney's Office. The complaint alleges "he received over $ 8 million in PPP loans from applications from insured financial institutions and others on behalf of various companies."
A copy of the complaint received from the Las Vegas Review Journal shows that Marnell has been accused of submitting fraudulent loan applications to at least four lenders through the Small Business Administration program, which helps companies help their workforce during the COVID-19 crisis employ.
The authorities allege that Marnell has "made numerous false and misleading statements about the company's operations and wages," and "used aliases, submitted bogus and amended documents, including false federal tax returns and employee payslips."
The criminal complaint was filed by a high-ranking special agent with the General Inspectorate of the Federal Housing Agency. Marnell was said to have filed applications under company names such as Quicksilver LLC, Shale Creek LLC, Slatestone LLC and others. In one complaint, he complained that Slatestone was a Wyoming-based company with 75 employees owned and controlled by Andrew Merrill. This process of using different names and false documents for loan applications, according to the authorities, brought in millions of PPP loans.
Some of these loans were later flagged by fraud investigators.
Authorities said Marnell then transferred millions of dollars from the fraudulently received loan proceeds to his brokerage accounts to conduct risky futures trading. He took huge losses in the effort. A brokerage account used by Marnell to trade futures options resulted in a "net loss of $ 2,773,455.40 for June 2020," the complaint said.
Marnell has also played in Las Vegas casinos, according to the complaint.
"Information from the Bellagio shows that Marnell played at the Bellagio from July 9-11, 2020 and lost more than $ 150,000 in those two days," the complaint said.
The authorities said they had traced an IP address to an account on behalf of Marnell's husband. The investigation found that Marnell was also trying to open alias accounts with another brokerage firm, but the company informed the authorities that they had previously excluded Marnell from trading for "fraudulent activity".
As of Thursday, Marnell was detained without a bond, according to the U.S. Attorney General's press release in the Central District of California.
Contact Glenn Puit via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.