Pizza restaurant owner Michael Bischoff of Michigan has been imprisoned 32 months for fraudulently seeking $931,000 (€788,000) in paycheck protection programme (PPP) loans, one of the US government’s Covid-19 relief schemes for businesses.

According to court documents, Bischoff admitted to defrauding several financial institutions by submitting at least nine falsified PPP loan applications which included false representations about payroll, business expenses and the number of employees working at his chain of restaurants in Macomb county, eastern Michigan.

He submitted multiple fabricated tax documents and fraudulently used another person’s personal identifying information to help secure the loans, the department of justice said.

In addition to his prison sentence, Bischoff was ordered to serve three years of supervised release, pay back the $593,590 of Covid-19 relief he wrongly received and a $5,000 fine.

Separately businessman Andrew Marnell of Los Angeles has pleaded guilty to charges related to fraudulently obtaining almost $9m in PPP loans from financial institutions.

He spent some of the money he received on gambling in Las Vegas and to transfer to his stock trading accounts, according to the justice department.

To obtain the loans, he made numerous false and misleading statements about the companies’ business operations and payroll expenses in his loan application submissions.

He often used aliases and sent in fake and altered documents such as federal tax filings and employee payroll records, it added.

As part of his plea agreement, Marnell agreed to forfeit more than $1.54m seized from several brokerage accounts, $319,298 in cash recovered from his residence, electronic devices, a Rolex watch, a Range Rover and a Ducati motorcycle.


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