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LA Man Sentenced to Prison for Siphoning $7 Million in COVID Relief Fund

LA Man Sentenced to Prison for Siphoning $7 Million in COVID Relief Fund

A file photograph of a judge's gavel. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service

7/10/2023

Updated: 7/10/2023

LOS ANGELES—A West Los Angeles man was sentenced July 10 to 79 months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining at least $7.3 million in coronavirus relief funds, some of which he gambled away in Las Vegas.
Andrew Marnell, 43, who lives in the Beverly Grove neighborhood, pleaded guilty in 2021 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.
A restitution hearing is scheduled for Aug. 28.
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, according to his plea agreement.
In addition to his prison sentence, Marnell will pay restitution to lenders who were victimized, an amount believed to be not less than $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 Paycheck Protection Program 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.
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