DTLA Man Convicted in COVID-19 Loans Scam

Cinematic Close Up Footage of a Handcuffed Convict at a Law and Justice Court Trial. Handcuffs on Accused Criminal in Orange Jail Jumpsuit. Law Offender Sentenced to Serve Jail Time.

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A downtown Los Angeles man was found guilty today of federal criminal charges for fraudulently obtaining more than $150,000 --and attempting to obtain an additional $1.85 million -- in COVID-relief loans for several companies he claimed to own and operate.

Sean Schoepflin, 43, also known as Sean Fitzgerald, was found guilty of two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Evidence presented at the three-day trial showed that from April 2020 to October 2021, Schoepflin made numerous false statements to the U.S. Small Business Administration to secure Economic Injury Disaster Loans for his businesses.

Schoepflin falsely stated that the business entities he created had several employees and several hundred thousand dollars in revenues, and that the loans would be used for working capital for those companies. Schoepflin also falsely stated on loan applications that he had never been convicted of a felony.

In fact, the businesses -- Capital Adventures Inc., Lady Capital Inc., Digital Army Ltd. and Lady Pictures LLP -- had no employees and little or no revenue and he used the loans largely for personal expenses, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Schoepflin had previously been convicted of multiple felonies, federal prosecutors said. U.S. District Judge Fernando M. Olguin scheduled a July 27 sentencing hearing, at which time Schoepflin will face up to 20 years in federal prison for each wire fraud count and up to 10 years in federal prison for each money laundering count.

Schoepflin's wife, Erika Leon, 45, also known as Erika Fitzgerald, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of wire fraud and is scheduled for trial in Los Angeles federal court on Feb. 21. Schoepflin also is scheduled to go to trial in May on an indictment charging him with one count of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. Schoepflin allegedly possessed nine firearms and more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition despite felony convictions dating back to the late 1990s in Florida state court, including witness tampering, cocaine possession and burglary, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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