LA man admits fraudulently obtaining $9M in COVID-19 loans

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By Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles man has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $9 million in loans from COVID-relief programs, some of which he transferred to his stock trading accounts and used for gambling trips to Las Vegas, federal prosecutors said.

Andrew Marnell pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of bank fraud and one count of money laundering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement. The 41-year-old faces up to 40 years in prison when he’s sentenced in February.

Marnell admitted using a series of corporations he controlled to fraudulently obtain loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

Prosecutors said his loan applications made numerous false and misleading statements about the companies’ business operations and payroll expenses. Marnell, often using aliases, submitted fake and altered documents, including bogus federal tax filings and employee payroll records, investigators said.

As part of a plea agreement, Marnell agreed to forfeit items related to the pilfered loan funds, including $319,298 in cash recovered from his residence, numerous electronic devices, a Rolex Oyster watch, a Range Rover and a Ducati motorcycle.

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