L.A. Man Pleads Not Guilty to $8.5M Coronavirus Fraud

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Los Angeles man pleaded not guilty today to federal charges that he fraudulently obtained at least $8.5 million in coronavirus relief funds and gambled away some of it in Las Vegas.

Andrew Marnell, 40, was given a tentative trial date of Sept. 29 in Los Angeles federal court.

Marnell faces bank fraud charges for allegedly submitting fake and altered documents, including bogus federal tax filings and employee payroll records, to insured financial institutions on behalf of different companies, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Federal prosecutors contend that the Paycheck Protection Program loan applications were made using fake identifications that were aliases of Marnell, and that he made numerous false statements about the companies' respective business operations and payroll expenses.

Marnell transferred the fraudulently obtained loan proceeds to his brokerage account to make high-risk stock market investments and similarly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of the money at a Las Vegas casino, prosecutors allege.

The PPP loans were part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which provided aid for millions of Americans suffering the economic effects of the pandemic.

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