LISBURGH, Virginia. On Thursday, July 15, a federal court sentenced a former NASA employee to bank fraud charges. Officials said the man, Andrew Tezna of Leesburg, fraudulently applied for more than $ 350,000 in COVID relief funds and small business benefits.
In total, Tezna was sentenced to 18 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release. He also has to pay $ 285,449.11 in restitution and confiscation.
Justice Department officials said Tezna received more than $ 285,000 in relief funds, mainly through the Payroll Protection Program, which was designed to help businesses pay employees and cover basic costs during the coronavirus pandemic. According to court documents, the companies listed in Tezna’s Paycheck Protection Program applications did not exist.
Raj Pareh is the Acting Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA). “While in a senior position at NASA, this defendant used false names to carry out an insolent scheme in which he used taxpayer-funded programs during a global pandemic for his own personal gain,” said Parekh. “This case is another example of EDVA’s commitment to pursuing justice for those trying to benefit from basic programs for deserving community members. ”
In a press release, officials said Tezna used fraudulent funds in the form of a personal loan for a housing stock, a personal loan for a minivan, a personal credit card debt and a down payment for a new car. According to court documents, Tezna also used the funds to pay the dog breeders.
“COVID-19 assistance programs are not intended to be used to pay personal favors,” said Darrell Waldon, an IRS special agent. “Tezna, despite holding a leadership position, stole funds from the government intended to help troubled businesses during the pandemic. Today the punishments for his actions have been implemented. “