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Covid fraudster who bought California property and nearly 16,000 shares of Tesla stock with PPP loans is caught

Covid fraudster who bought California property and nearly 16,000 shares of Tesla stock with PPP loans is caught
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Written by Robert Berenson | Bloomberg

Andrew Aaron Lloyd was a shrewd investor, but he was a shoddy crook.

The Lebanese businessman, Oregon, made millions by buying nearly 16,000 shares of Tesla Inc. But he lost everything – besides his freedom – when the Fed discovered he had fraudulently funded his investments with proceeds from Covid-Relief loans.

Hundreds of people have been sued for wrongfully receiving taxpayer-subsidized money from plans aimed at helping small businesses during the pandemic, such as the Paycheck Protection Program. Many of them spent the money, and the plaintiffs were able to recover only a fraction of it. But this was not the case with Lloyd, as the government recovered more than it deceived.

Lloyd, 51, earned about $3.4 million by filing fake business names owned by relatives and partners, all without their knowledge, according to court records. Prosecutors said he used some of the proceeds to purchase more than 25 plots of real estate in Oregon and California.

But his biggest windfall came with his 2020 purchase of 15,740 shares of Tesla using government money and a loan from Charles Schawb against the shares he bought with stolen cash.

Increase exponentially

Tesla shares have since risen, providing investors with returns of around 50% in the past year alone. Lloyd’s investment was worth more than $11 million at the time the agents forfeited his shares in January of last year, and $16.8 million at the close of trading Thursday.

“Lloyd transferred more than $1.8 million of PPP funds to his E*TRADE securities brokerage account and purchased the securities,” prosecutors said in a court filing. “Fortunately for the government and for Mr. Lloyd’s redemption obligations discussed below, the value of those securities has increased significantly.”

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