California Man Faces 30 Years After Gambling in Vegas with $9million in Defrauded Coronavirus Funds

A Californian man has been arrested and charged with a $9million coronavirus fraud scheme, huge chunks of his ill-gotten gains spent on gambling at the Bellagio and other Vegas casinos.

By: Andrew Burnett

40-year old Andrew Marnell from Los Angeles has been accused of submitting fraudulent loan applications to obtain $9million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds.

He then used the money to trade on the stock market, as well as gamble his way through Las Vegas, at the Bellagio and at least two other Strip casinos.

Details of both these illegal uses of PPP funds were included in the criminal complaint, one brokerage account showing “a net loss of $2,773,455.40 for the month of June 2020.”

In addition: “Information from the Bellagio indicates that Marnell was gambling at the Bellagio from July 9 to July 11, 2020, and that he lost more than $150,000 in those two days.”

The PPP funds, part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, are intended to be used by legitimate businesses to offset the costs of the coronavirus pandemic, including paying furloughed staff.

Marnell, however, has been accused of submitting ‘numerous false and misleading statements’ about business operations and payroll expenses connected to various company PPP loan applications.

A US Department of Justice press release from last Thursday reads, among other complaints against the accused: ‘…Marnell transferred the fraudulently-obtained loan proceeds to his brokerage account to make risky stock-market bets and similarly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulently-obtained loan proceeds at a Las Vegas casino.’

Marnell, due in court again this week, faces up to 30-years in prison for the bank fraud charge.


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