Northridge Man to Plead Guilty to COVID-19 Relief Fraud

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A San Fernando Valley man is expected to plead guilty today to a federal fraud charge for obtaining $655,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans by submitting fake tax documents and false employee information.

Steven R. Goldstein, 36, of Northridge, has agreed to enter a guilty plea via Zoom to a single federal count of fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Goldstein admits to fraudulently obtaining $655,000 in PPP loans, according to his plea agreement.

Prosecutors say Goldstein applied for four different PPP loans to Bank of America totaling more than $1.2 million on behalf of various companies while using fake tax documents and false employee information.

Two of those PPP loans ultimately were approved and Goldstein's companies received a total of $655,000 in PPP loan funds, court records show.

On the same day that the funds were issued to Goldstein's companies, he transferred more than half into his personal bank accounts, prosecutors stated.

In total, Goldstein and co-defendant Raymond Magana, 39, of Santa Clarita, applied for more than five separate PPP business loans totaling more than $2.5 million from various banks, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court.

The status of the case against Magana was not known.

The PPP loan program was launched at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and was designed to allow business owners to keep workers on their payroll.

Photo: Getty Images

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