The ejected chairman of Aviron Pictures was arrested today on federal fraud charges for using $ 1.7 million in the federal government’s coronavirus relief paycheck protection program for his personal use.
William Sadleir was taken into custody without maturity by FBI agents and other federal officials, the Justice Department revealed. He submitted alleged applications for loans under the names of various Aviron units through JPMorgan Chase – but not for the reasons he stated.
The complaint, filed on Thursday and disgusting after his arrest today, accuses Sadleir of wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and making false statements to the Small Business Administration.
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Sadleir, 66, of Beverly Hills, is expected to make her first court appearance today in central Los Angeles. The four charges have a collective statutory penalty of 82 years in federal prison.
According to the affadavit, the authorities have linked Sadleir to the three applications for PPP loans made on behalf of the three environmental units. All three applications claimed that each company had 33 employees and monthly salary costs in excess of $ 200,000. On April 30, JPMorgan Chase approved the loan applications and the next day money was linked to almost empty JPMorgan Chase bank accounts linked to the three units.
Within days, almost $ 1 million was transferred to PPP loan money into Sadleir’s personal account at JPMorgan Chase, the position claims. Investigators have determined that part of this money was used to pay personal expenses, including payments to Sadleir’s and his wife’s American Express card. A payment allegedly made with PPP loan revenue – a $ 40,000 payment on Sadleir’s car loan – was reversed, and JPChase Morgan frozen the accounts in connection with the alleged scheme.
“This filmmaker was alleged to have made a series of false statements to a bank and the Small Business Administration to illegally secure taxpayers’ money, which he then used to fund his nearly empty personal bank account,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna on Friday in a statement “The Paycheck Protection Program was implemented to help small businesses stay afloat during the financial crisis, and we will act swiftly against those who abuse the program for their own personal gain.”
The DOJ said that Sadleir allegedly obtained the resilient loans by falsely representing that the funds would be used to support wage costs, when Sadleir actually intended to use and used a significant portion of the funds for personal and non-business related expenses.
“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,” added Brian Benczkowski, Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice. “As the department has made clear, those who deceive the PPP will put their own pockets at the expense of the American people for justice.”
Following a process in late 2019 that alleged irregularities in the company’s structure, Sanlier left his role as chief operating officer for Aviron Pictures, a subsidiary of Aviron Group, in January this year. The feds said that people associated with Aviron told investigators that Sadleir currently had no role in Aviron Pictures or the related entities. The pledge states that Aviron Group, Aviron Licensing and Aviron Releasing do not conduct any ongoing operations.
Sadleir was expelled from Aviron Pictures in early January because of a contract provision given to BlackRock, Aviron’s senior lender. About half of the Environmental staff close to 30 people were released about three weeks later.
“These [PPP] Funds were designed to be a lifeline for companies struggling to stay afloat during the current crisis, “said Paul Delacourt, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The FBI is committed to upholding the PPP’s integrity and will be responsible to those who cheat the system at the expense of US taxpayers.”
The case against Sadleir is being investigated by the FBI and the directors of SBA and FDIC.