Law enforcement officials arrested a man and accused him of fraudulently obtaining credit through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
On July 16, Deputy Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and U.S. attorney Nicola T. Hanna from the Central District of California announced the arrest of Andrew Marnell, 40, from Los Angeles, California.
A criminal suit unsealed the same day accused Marnell of bank fraud for allegedly submitting false applications for the PPP, an initiative launched in response to the 2019 Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) to encourage employers to hire their workers keep on the payroll.
Marnell uses aliases supported by false and fraudulent identifications and is accused of filing loan applications that have made misleading or untrue statements about the companies for which he applied. He allegedly supported these applications with false federal tax returns, employee pay slips, and other relevant documents.
Marnell is believed to have received approximately $ 8.5 million in loans obtained through the PPP due to these activities, the criminal complaint said.
A statement by the Department of Justice's Department of Public Affairs clarified what Marnell should have done with the funds received:
The complaint also claims that Marnell transferred the fraudulently received loan proceeds to his brokerage account to place risky exchange bets and similarly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on fraudulently received loan proceeds at a Las Vegas casino.
The DOJ press release did not clarify when Marnell could face trial for his alleged crimes.
This is not the first time that fraudsters have misused the prospect of COVID-19 economic relief for their own gang. In mid-March, for example, malicious actors sent fraud emails informing recipients that they were waiting for US $ 1,000 economic checks.
In the emails, recipients were informed that all they had to do was send their personal details, bank details, and social security numbers – essentially all the data needed to carry out identity theft – to collect their money.