An Oregon man is being hauled off to prison for four years after pulling off a pretty elaborate scam, all in the name of Stonks. The Justice Department announced on Friday that it caught 51-year-old Andrew Lloyd swindling upwards of $US3.4 ($5) million from multiple federal COVID-19 relief programs, and then using that cash to buy 15,740 shares of Tesla stocks last year.
According to the DOJ’s announcement, Lloyd successfully managed to scam multiple loan programs from the Small Business Administration (SBA), a federal branch that has doled out upwards of $US6 ($8) trillion to the mum-and-pop shops that were financially slammed during the pandemic. Coincidentally, the same day that the DOJ made this announcement, the SBA’s inspector general found the agency had doled out an estimated $US3.6 ($5) billion in aid to parties that didn’t qualify for those funds.
Lloyd was obviously one of those guys that didn’t qualify, but the DOJ lays out how he was able to make off with the money anyway. Starting in April 2020, he began submitting loan applications to the agency using “numerous business names and personally identification information of relatives and business associates without their consent.”
“Lloyd submitted false documentation to justify the loan amounts requested, including IRS forms listing the 2019 wages purportedly paid by entities controlled by Lloyd,” the announcement goes on. “The loan application packages included some of the same information across the different business entities, including the businesses’ physical locations and the names of several dozen employees. The IRS forms, the total amount of wages and earnings, the employee names, and the wages paid to each employee were all created by Lloyd and false.”
The fact that the feds didn’t catch on for more than a year even though this guy used phony details multiple times across multiple loan applications doesn’t, uh, paint the agency in the best light. By the time he was caught, the announcement goes on, Lloyd had most likely paid about $US114 ($159) per Tesla share. Today, that price is more than $US1,000 ($1,396). He’d also allegedly used the funds to buy more than 25 properties across Oregon and California, and to pour money into other securities funds, too.
The DOJ says that after seizing one of Lloyd’s brokerage accounts early last year, it found over $US660,000 ($921,228) in securities and cash. Today, those funds added with the thousands of Tesla stocks put Lloyd’s total ill-gotten earnings at a healthy $US18 ($25) million, at least.
Of course, the bulk of those funds won’t be following him into prison. He pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft this month, which landed him a four-year prison sentence with another five years of supervised release. Lloyd was also ordered to pay over $US4 ($6) million in restitution, forfeit those 25 properties, and also forfeit more than 15,000 of those Tesla shares.