SAN JOSE – A Californian was arrested today on criminal charges related to his alleged conspiracy to submit fraudulent loan applications targeting millions of dollars into the Paycheck Protection Program (P3) and relief funds for Economic Damage Disaster (EIDL) COVID-19.
According to an indictment released last week by a federal grand jury in San Francisco and unsealed today, Lebnitz Tran, 40, of San José, has submitted at least 27 PPP loan applications and at least seven loan applications. EIDL on behalf of several people and business entities. , using false and fictitious information and documents, including falsified employee information, fictitious or grossly exaggerated payroll figures and false tax documents. The indictment alleges that Tran requested over $ 8 million in PPP and EIDL funds, obtained over $ 3.6 million in illicit loan proceeds, and ultimately withdrew about $ 2 million from the program. The indictment further alleges that Tran and others used these illicit loan products to make purchases at restaurants and retail stores, make deposits to personal investment accounts, purchase crypto. -currency and, in one case, buy a $ 100,000 Tesla from a luxury car dealership.
An indictment is only an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.
Tran is charged with six counts of wire fraud and three counts of bank fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for each count of bank fraud and 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud. The court can also order additional assessments, confiscation and restitution; however, any post-conviction sentence would be imposed by the court after reviewing the United States Sentencing Guidelines and Federal Sentencing Law, 18 USC § 3553.
Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds of the Northern District of California, Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Special Agent in charge of the San Francisco Division Craig D. Fair made the announcement.
The FBI and the Office of the Inspector General of the Small Business Administration are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Griswold of the Northern District of California and Trial Attorney Christopher Jackson of the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division are continuing the case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General created the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Working Group to mobilize the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with government agencies to strengthen efforts to combat and prevent the pandemic fraud. The Working Group strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable national and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by scaling up and integrating mechanisms coordination, identifying resources and techniques for uncovering fraudulent actors and their programs, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Enforcement (NCDF) hotline at 866-720 -5721 or via the NCDF web complaint form at https: // www. justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.