Man convicted after using COVID relief funds to buy Tesla stock

Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

An Oregon man is jailed for four years after committing some pretty elaborate scam, all in the name of Stoks. the Ministry of Justice announced on Friday that it caught 51-year-old Andrew Lloyd defrauding more than $3.4 million from multiple federal COVID-19 aid programs, and then use that money to buy 15,740 shares of Tesla stock last year.

According to the DOJ’s announcement, Lloyd has managed to defraud multiple loan programs from the Small Business Administration (SBA), a federal arm that over $6 trillion to the mom-and-pop stores that were financially slammed during the pandemic. Coincidentally, the SBA’s inspector general discovered the same day the DOJ made this announcement that the agency had distributed an estimated $3.6 billion in aid to parties ineligible for those funds.

Lloyd was clearly one of those guys who didn’t qualify, but the DOJ explains how he managed to run off with the money anyway. As of April 2020, he began submitting loan applications to the agency using “numerous company names and personal identifiers of family members and business associates without their consent.”

“Lloyd has submitted false documentation to justify the requested loan amounts, including IRS forms showing 2019 wages allegedly paid by entities controlled by Lloyd,” the announcement continues. “The loan application packages contain some of the same information about the various business entities, including the physical locations of the businesses and the names of several dozen employees. The IRS forms, the total amount of wages and earnings, the names of the employees and the wages paid to each employee are all made by Lloyd and are false.”

The fact that the FBI didn’t kick in for more than a year, even though this man used false details multiple times on multiple loan applications, doesn’t paint the agency in the best light. By the time he was caught, the announcement continues, Lloyd had most likely paid about $114 per Tesla share. Today that price is over $1,000. He also allegedly used the money to buy more than 25 properties in Oregon and California, as well as to pump money into other securities funds.

The DOJ says that after seizing one of Lloyd’s brokerage accounts early last year, it found more than $660,000 in securities and cash. Today, those funds added to the thousands of Tesla shares bring Lloyd’s total ill-gotten gains to a healthy $18 million, at the very least.

Most of that money won’t follow him to jail, of course. He pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft this month, earning him a four-year prison sentence with an additional five years of supervised release. Lloyd was also ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution, forfeiture of those 25 properties and also forfeiture of more than 15,000 of those Tesla stock.

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