Because of the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, businesses across the country have been struggling to stay afloat. Near the beginning of the pandemic, when most states were under “stay at home orders,” congress created the Paycheck Protection Program--the program offered businesses loans that would be forgiven if the funds were used on expenses such as payrolls, rent, utilities, or mortgage interest, within a certain time period.
Unfortunately, this program saw fraudulent activity almost immediately, with people submitting false applications to receive these funds. According to ABC 7 News, a local Los Angeles man, Andrew Marnell, is one of the latest people to be charged with fraud charges for a PPP loan scam.
Andrew Marnell allegedly obtained over $8 million in PPP loans. According to federal prosecutors, Marnell “caused the submission of fraudulent loan applications that made numerous false and misleading statements…” He submitted fake documents, fake tax filings, and fake employee records. He also used fake identifications on many of the loan applications. When Marnell got the PPP funds, he immediately transferred the money to his brokerage account--he made several high risk stock market investments and then “spent hundred of thousands of dollars in fraudulently obtained loan proceeds at a Las Vegas casino.” Marnell has now been arrested and is facing charges for federal bank fraud.
Federal Bank Fraud
Federal bank fraud charges are very serious. Under 18 U.S.C. section 1344, a person can be found guilty of committing bank fraud if that person knowingly executes a scheme, or attempts a scheme to:
- defraud a financial institution, or
- Obtain money or other assets from a financial institution through fraudulent means.
The penalties for this federal fraud crime are severe. A person convicted of federal bank fraud can face up to 30 years in prison and/or fines of up to $1,000,000. When determining the severity of the sentence, the judge may consider several different factors including the nature and seriousness of the offense and the defendant's criminal history. Typically, the more serious the fraud, the more severe the sentence.
Get Help With Your Federal Criminal Defense
Even an accusation that you committed a federal fraud charge can be stressful--it can affect your job, your ability to secure a loan in the future, and take its toll on your reputation. And, a federal fraud conviction can be completely life-altering as the fines are hefty and the incarceration time is lengthy. If you have been charged with committing a federal fraud offense, or any other federal crime, it is absolutely crucial to have an experienced federal criminal defense attorney by your side.
There are legitimate defenses available in bank fraud cases, including showing that you did not knowingly act to defraud a bank. The knowledgeable and dedicated attorneys at the Kann California Law Group have years of experience handling federal defense cases. We can evaluate your case and discuss the defense strategies available during a free case consultation. Contact us today at 888-744-7730 or use our confidential online contact form to see how we can help with your defense.