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How Tesla stock and a PPP loan landed a man four years in jail

Next-gen Tesla Roadster and Cybertruck at Hawthorne Design Center, 2019 Tesla Holiday Party (Credit: giftedkick_/Instagram)

Among the many things Andrew Aaron Lloyd bought with his $3.4 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from the United States government, Tesla stock was one of his biggest purchases. The 51-year-old fraudster, who is now looking at four years in prison after going in front of a judge last Thursday, purchased over 15,700 shares of the electric automaker’s stock by filing fake applications and getting a loan from his local Charles Schwab broker.

The Lebanon, Oregon resident Lloyd’s gains from the surging stock disappeared after federal investigators put two and two together, realizing his investments were funded by illegally-obtained PPP loans, which were used to keep small businesses alive as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act.

It’s not a singular case. Perhaps hundreds of people have used PPP loans to fund lavish lifestyles, get ahead on bills, or fund the fever of retail investing. Others have used them to buy new cars, like a Maryland man who had a Tesla Model 3 and $2.2 million in cash seized after utilizing PPP applications to fuel his taste for the finer things in life. Lloyd, however, had plans for recurring gains thanks to Tesla stock’s incredible growth and consistent gains since early 2020.

Lloyd’s initial investment was worth more than $11 million when agents seized his holdings in January 2021, according to Bloomberg. An additional $5.8 million has been added to this value since then, as his holdings would have been worth around $16.3 million when shares closed down 3.4% on Friday night.

“Lloyd transferred over $1.8 million of the PPP funds to his E*TRADE Securities brokerage account and purchased securities,” a court filing from prosecutors revealed. “Fortunately for the government, and for Mr. Lloyd’s restitution obligation discussed below, the value of those securities increased exponentially.” An additional $660,000 was seized in security accounts under Lloyd’s name.

In June, Lloyd pleaded guilty to bank fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft. He was sentenced on Thursday and was given four years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Lloyd will pay more than $4 million in restitution and forfeit 25 properties and more than 15,000 shares of Tesla, Inc., the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Eugene, Oregon, said in a statement.

Additionally, Lloyd’s accomplice, Russell Anthony Schort, pled guilty to bank fraud and was sentenced to Federal Prison. He will also pay $294,552 in restitution as a part of his punishment.

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How Tesla stock and a PPP loan landed a man four years in jail
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