California man is facing Federal fraud charges after investigators say he attempted to obtain over $1.7 million in fraudulent loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) earlier this year.
The 66-year-old film producer allegedly applied for the loans by falsely stating that the proceeds would be used to meet payroll expenses for three film production and distribution firms he operates. However, investigators say the proceeds actually went to personal, non-business expenses, including paying down personal credit card debt and in putting a down payment on a car loan.
Investigators say the evidence indicates that the defendant never intended to use the funds for any other purpose than his own benefit, noting that half the funds were transferred into his personal account immediately upon receipt. Despite certifying that the funds would be used toward payroll, rent, and other overhead for his production firms, investigators say $80,000 of it was used for personal credit card balances.
The defendant was charged last week in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles with wire fraud, bank fraud, false statements to a financial institution, and false statements to the Small Business Administration. No trial date has yet been announced. He is one of several individuals charged to date with fraud in connection with the lending program authorized earlier this year under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
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