Lebanon man gets four years for COVID-19 relief fraud

A Lebanon man was sentenced to four years in federal prison Thursday, Jan. 6, after reportedly stealing millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief funds.

Andrew Aaron Lloyd, 51, also received five years’ supervised release and was ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution and forfeit 25 properties and some 15,000 shares of Tesla, Inc. stock, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon.

Lloyd, the agency reported, took advantage of Small Business Administration-administered economic relief programs, including Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These were authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided emergency financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to court documents, beginning in April 2020, Lloyd began submitting CARES Act loan applications using business names and personal identification information of relatives and business associates without their consent.

He submitted false documentation to justify the amounts, including IRS forms listing 2019 wages purportedly paid by entities he controlled, which, he claimed, paid employees as much as $4.7 million.

Loan applications included lists of dozens of purported employees and their total wages. Loan application packages included some of the same information across the different businesses, including their physical locations and the names of several dozen personnel. However, the IRS forms, wages and earnings, and employee names and wages were discovered to be false.

Overall, Lloyd submitted nine PPP loan applications. Six were accepted, resulting in a payout of more than $3.4 million. He also applied for numerous EIDLs. One cleared, resulting in an additional $160,000. He used these funds to buy real estate and invest in securities, transferring more than $1.8 million of the PPP loan funds to his securities brokerage account.

The securities he purchased substantially increased in value. In addition, he bought more than 25 properties in Oregon and California.

In January of last year, agents seized Lloyd’s brokerage account, which included 15,740 shares of Tesla, Inc. Two months later, they seized another account containing more than $660,000 in securities and cash, presently valued at more than $18 million.

On Jan. 5, 2021, Lloyd was charged by criminal complaint with wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering. In June, he was charged by superseding criminal information with bank fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. He pled guilty to all three charges later that month.

An accomplice, 39-year-old Russell Anthony Schort, of Myrtle Creek, was charged for similar conduct.

He pleaded guilty to bank fraud and was sentenced to federal prison and ordered to pay $294,552 in restitution in November 2021.