Los Angeles man to plead guilty to $7.3M coronavirus fraud

A Los Angeles man has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges that he fraudulently obtained at least $7.3 million in coronavirus relief funds and gambled away some of it in Las Vegas.

Andrew Marnell, 41, signed a plea agreement with prosecutors last week and is expected to formally enter his plea on Sept. 27 before a federal judge, court records show.

Marnell will plead guilty in Los Angeles federal court to bank fraud and money laundering charges for 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.


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The charges carry a sentence of up to 40 years behind bars.

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.

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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.

As part of his plea agreement, Marnell agreed to forfeit over $1.5 million, two Rolex Oyster watches, a Land Rover Range Rover, a Ducati motorcycle and other items. He agreed with a restitution amount of over $7.3 million.

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.