LA Man Allegedly Gambled Vast Sums in Vegas After Falsely Claiming $8.5m in PPP Loans

  • Andrew Marnell, 40, is suspected of scamming the federal COVID-19 program
  • He allegedly spent hundreds of thousands at a Vegas casino, made stock-market bets
  • Feds identified the Bellagio Casino as one of the Vegas facilities visited by Marnell  
  • If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison
Paycheck Protection Program Borrower Application Form
LA man Andrew Marnell allegedly gambled hundreds of thousands in Vegas after falsely claiming approximately $8.5m in PPP loans. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Suspected of scamming federal COVID-19 program

Andrew Marnell was arrested and charged Thursday for fraudulently seeking more than $8.5m in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, the US Department of Justice (USDOJ) announced. He also allegedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of loaned money at a Las Vegas casino and made “risky stock-market bets” with the PPP proceeds.

spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of loaned money at a Las Vegas casino

The 40-year-old from Beverly Grove, LA was held without bond following his charge by criminal complaint with one count of bank fraud in the Central District of California.

The allegedly scammed PPP loans form part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

CARES is part of a federal COVID-19 stimulus aimed at providing emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans suffering pandemic-induced financial hardship.

Bellagio Casino identified by investigators

In a live news report, CBS Los Angeles (CBSLA) said federal officials had identified the Bellagio as one of the Vegas casinos visited by Marnell as recently “as last week”. According to CBSLA, if convicted as charged, the LA man, who is due back in court Tuesday, faces a statutory sentence of up to 30 years in a federal prison.

up to 30 years in a federal prison

In a tweet, the news network shared surveillance footage released by the USDOJ, showing Marnell playing blackjack:  

One-man web of deceit

According to court documents, Marnell allegedly applied with insured financial and other institutions “on behalf of different companies”, obtaining around $8.5m. The USDOJ press release reports that the LA man’s “fraudulent loan applications […] made numerous false and misleading statements about the companies’ respective business operations and payroll expenses.”

Documents also allege that Marnell “submitted fake and altered documents, including federal tax filings and employee payroll records”, often under the guise of aliases.