SAN JOSE – A man was arrested after authorities said he fraudulently took advantage of federal pandemic relief programs, illegally obtaining about $ 2 million, which he used to buy cryptocurrency, buy Tesla and eat out in restaurants.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California, 40-year-old Lebnitz Tran from San Jose allegedly filed 27 false applications to the Payroll Protection Program and at least seven applications to the Disaster Loan Injury Loan Program. which were created to help businesses across the country weather the financial storms of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tran is accused of developing applications “on behalf of several individuals and legal entities using false and fictitious information and documents, including falsified employee information, bogus or grossly inflated payroll data, and fake tax documents.”
The federal indictment says Tran demanded over $ 8 million in total during his scheme, received over $ 3.6 million in loans, and ultimately received about $ 2 million.
“Tran and others have used these illegal loans to shop at restaurants and retail stores, deposit into personal investment accounts, buy cryptocurrency and, in one case, buy a Tesla for $ 100,000 at a luxury car dealership,” the statement said. this was reported by the US Attorney’s Office.
Tran is charged with six counts of electronic fraud and three counts of bank fraud. The authorities said that if convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for each charge of bank fraud and 20 years in prison for each charge of electronic fraud.
The FBI and the Office of the Inspector General of the Small Business Administration are investigating the case under the auspices of the federal COVID-19 fraud task force.