Man admits role in nearly $7M paycheck protection scheme

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A man admitted in federal court in New Jersey that he participated in a scheme to fraudulently try to obtain nearly $7 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Gregory Blotnick, 34, pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire fraud and money laundering.

Blotnick, who lives in New York and Florida, submitted 21 fraudulent PPP loan applications to 13 lenders on behalf of nine purported businesses that Blotnick controlled from April 2020 through March 2021, according to court documents. The forgivable loans were created to help small businesses retain jobs and cover other expenses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Blotnick falsified employment and income records and managed to obtain $4.6 million in funds, prosecutors said. They said he transferred the money into brokerage accounts from which he placed more than approximately $3 million in losing stock trades.

The charge of wire fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000, twice the gross profits or loss, whichever is greatest, prosecutors said. The charge of money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain to the defendant or gross loss to the victim, whichever is greatest.

His sentencing is scheduled for March 2022.

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