Man Arrested for Gambling

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In West L.A., a man has been arrested for gambling with $9 million in fraudulently obtained funds. These funds were collected as loans in a Covid-19 relief fund that he was approved for. The funds were used for the general purposes they were meant for, but some of them were used to be gambled away at a local casino.

The Resident

A resident of Beverly Grove, a neighborhood in Los Angeles, he was arrested when he obtained the money and more information was found out about how he obtained it, where it came from, and what he did with it. He was arrested without bond on federal charges that alleged he fraudulently obtained this money.

Andrew Marnell, 40, made a court appearance in the United States District Court located in Los Angeles and is also detained there. His hearing is pending but will happen shortly so that the next legal step can be taken against him.

Where Did the Money Come From?

The money was obtained through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These are loans that are issued to businesses in order to provide for their employees and their businesses during the lockdown that has happened throughout the country. Marnell collected at least $9 million in these funds for various companies on their behalf and kept them. He may have gotten more than the original thought of $9, and this is ongoing during the investigation to find out more.

The loan applications for the PPP were fraudulent because he made false and misleading statements about the companies that were added to the applications, as well as the payroll expenses, their operations, and more. Marnell then also used aliases to get the money sent to him, submitted fake and altered documents, and also included fake tax statements and payroll information to the program to obtain the funds.

Where Did the Money Go?

Once obtained, the money was used to gamble with and much of it was transferred into his stock trading accounts, both of which are not allowed when signing up for this program. He made many risky stock market bets by using this money that he transferred into his accounts. He then went to the Bellagio Hotel & Casino and spent more of the money in the gaming, rooms, and other extravagant measures while there.

The CARES Act or Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was designed to provide financial assistance to both people who have lost their income, or those businesses that need relief due to the pandemic causing their businesses to struggle. The PPP is a program that is included in the CARES Act. This is specifically designed to help businesses obtain forgivable funds for their businesses to continue to run.

If convicted, Marnell is looking at paying the amount back and up to 30 years in federal prison for the crimes he committed. This is an important factor and something he is faced with due to the crimes he committed.