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Former Hollywood Executive Charged for Pocketing More Than $1.7M in Coronavirus Relief Funds



66-year-old William Sadleir of Beverly Hills, California, a former Hollywood executive, has been charged with pocketing more than $1.7 million in coronavirus relief funds. Sadleir reportedly used the money to pay off his credit card debt and other personal expenses.

According to the Justice Department, Sadleir faces federal charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution, and making false statements to the Small Business Administration.

Fox News reported that the complaint alleges Sadleir filed forgivable bank loan applications seeking more than $1.7 million under the Paycheck Protection Program.

“This film producer allegedly made a series of misrepresentations to a bank and the Small Business Administration to illegally secure taxpayer money that he then used to fund his nearly empty personal bank account,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna of the Central District of California.

Sadleir is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Aviron Pictures. According to Fox News, federal prosecutors “alleged Sadleir submitted three applications to JP Morgan Chase for loans under the PPP on behalf of Aviron entities.”

“This defendant allegedly used Paycheck Protection Program loans to pay off his personal credit card debts and other personal expenses, rather than using the funds for legitimate business needs,” said Brian Benczkowski, assistant attorney general of the DOJ's Criminal Division.

The funds are said to be part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“These funds were designed to be a lifeline to businesses struggling to stay afloat during the current crisis,” said Assistant Director in Charge Paul Delacourt of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The FBI is committed to maintaining the integrity of the PPP and will hold accountable those who cheat the system at the expense of American taxpayers.”

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