SAN JOSE – A California man was arrested today on criminal charges related to his alleged intrigue to file fraudulent loan applications to submit millions of dollars to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) COVID-19 relief fund .
Lebnitz Tran, 40, of San Jose filed at least 27 PPP loan applications and at least seven EIDL loan applications on behalf of multiple individuals and companies, according to an indictment filed last week by a state grand jury in San Francisco and unsealed today, using false and fictitious information and documents, including falsified employee information, fictitious or grossly exaggerated pay slips and falsified tax documents. The indictment alleges that Tran sought more than $ 8 million in PPP and EIDL funds, received over $ 3.6 million in illegal loan proceeds, and eventually netted about $ 2 million from the program. The indictment further alleges that Tran and others used these illicit loan proceeds to make purchases at restaurants and retail stores, make deposits into personal investment accounts, purchase cryptocurrency and, in one case, a Tesla worth $ 100,000 a luxury car dealership to buy.
An indictment is just an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven beyond doubt in a court of law.
Tran has been charged with six wire transfer fraud cases and three bank fraud charges. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for each case of bank fraud and 20 years in prison for each case of wire transfer fraud. The court can also order additional assessments, confiscation and refunds; However, any post-conviction penalty would be imposed by the court in accordance with U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and Federal Law Imposing a Penalty, 18 USC Section 3553.
Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds of the Northern District of California, Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, 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 Inspector General of the Small Business Administration are investigating the case.
U.S. Assistant Attorney Sarah Griswold of the Northern District of California and Trial Attorney Christopher Jackson of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are pursuing the case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize the Department of Justice’s resources in collaboration with government agencies to step up efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The task force supports efforts to identify and prosecute the most guilty national and international criminal actors and assists authorities tasked with managing fraud prevention aid programs, including by supplementing and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, resource identification and Techniques for detecting fraudulent actors and their systems, and sharing and exploiting information and intelligence from previous enforcement efforts. For more information on the ministry’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about suspected COVID-19 fraud can report this by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 866-720-5721 or using the NCDF web complaint form at https : // www. Justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.