Helena Man Admits Bank Fraud As Part Of $ 1 Million COVID-19 Relief Loan Program | USAO-MT

GREAT FALLS – A man in Helena today admitted to crimes resulting from a scheme to defraud a bank of over $ 1 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Aid and Economic Security (CARES) Act and to use the funds instead for personal benefit, U.S. Attorney Leif said today Mr. Johnson.

Trevor Gene Lanius-McLeod, 48, also known as Trevor Gene McLeod, has pleaded guilty to bank fraud and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified illegal activities. Lanius-McLeod faces a maximum of 30 years in prison, a fine of $ 250,000 and three years of supervised release for the crime of bank fraud.

In a plea agreement filed in the case, the parties agreed that if the court accepts the plea agreement at sentencing, the government will seek the dismissal of nine more charges in a written document. accusation.

U.S. Chief District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Chief Justice Morris has set the sentence for April 21. Lanius-McLeod has been released pending further prosecution.

The government alleged in court documents that in April 2021 Lanius-McLeod applied for four PPP loans through Valley Bank of Helena, a division of Glacier Bank, and lied about the applications and accompanying documents. . As a result, Lanius-McLeod received $ 1,043,000 in fraudulent funds on the four loans. The PPP program provided emergency assistance to small businesses for job maintenance and some other expenses.

As part of the program, Lanius-McLeod applied for and received a PPP loan of $ 340,000 on behalf of Renovated Montana Properties LLP, an entity he controlled. Without several false statements, Lanius-McLeod would not have been able to claim this loan. Lanius-McLeod falsely stated that the company paid payroll taxes and had 25 employees. The company had never paid payroll taxes and had no employees other than Lanius-McLeod, although it sometimes employed independent contractors. Lanius-McLeod agreed in a promissory note to use the loan for salary costs and other business-related expenses. No part of the loan was used for these purposes. Instead, Lanius-McLeod used the loan for personal expenses, including paying off the mortgage on his personal residence.

Laurel’s co-accused Kasey Jones Wilson has pleaded guilty to bank fraud and is awaiting conviction.

U.S. Assistant Attorney Colin M. Rubich is pursuing the case, which has been investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI, with assistance from the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Administration tax and the US secret service.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General created the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Working Group to mobilize the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with government agencies to strengthen efforts to combat and prevent the pandemic fraud. The Working Group strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable national and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by scaling up and integrating mechanisms coordination, identifying resources and techniques for uncovering fraudulent actors and their programs, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Enforcement (NCDF) hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF online complaint form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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