A West Los Angeles man pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges for fraudulently obtaining at least $7.3 million in coronavirus relief funds, some of which he gambled away in Las Vegas.
Andrew Marnell, 41, who lives in the Beverly Grove neighborhood, entered his plea to one count each of bank fraud and money laundering for submitting fake and altered documents, including bogus federal tax filings and employee payroll records, to insured financial institutions on behalf of different companies.
The Paycheck Protection Program loan applications were made using fake identifications that were aliases of Marnell, and he made numerous false statements about the companies’ business operations and payroll expenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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.
Marnell, who faces up to 40 years in federal prison, is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner on Feb. 14.
In addition to any prison sentence he receives, Marnell has agreed to pay restitution to the victim lenders, an amount believed to be over $7.3 million. He also agreed to forfeit two Rolex Oyster watches, a Range Rover, a Ducati motorcycle and other items, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court.
The PPP loans were part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which provided aid for millions of Americans experiencing the economic effects of the pandemic.