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Early Voting Begins In LA County Ahead Of March 3 Primary

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Early Voting Begins In LA County 11 Days Ahead Of March 3 Primary

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Rather than a mad dash to the polls on the first day of voting, it was more like a trickle. Los Angeles County revamped its voting system this year in hopes of getting more people to the polls. Instead of opening polling locations for just one day, the count began opening voting centers Saturday that will operate every day leading up to the March 3 primary election day.

“The last time we were lined up out the door this is much better,” said George Gonzalez, who was one of the first to cast his ballot at a West Hollywood location. “It all went very smoothly! I was a little nervous about it because I’m not that good with computers.”

In addition to adding 10 more days for […]

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Fraud

Beverly Grove Man Charged for COVID Relief Loan Fraud

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LOS ANGELES – A resident of the Beverly Grove neighborhood of Los Angeles was ordered held without bond this afternoon after being arrested on federal charges alleging he fraudulently obtained millions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, some of which he used on gambling excursions to Las Vegas and transferred to his stock trading accounts.

Andrew Marnell, 40, was arrested this morning by federal authorities. Marnell made his initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles, where he was ordered detained pending a hearing on Tuesday.

A criminal complaint unsealed in court this afternoon charges Marnell with one count of bank fraud and alleges he obtained more than $8 million in PPP loans through applications to insured financial institutions, and others, on behalf of different companies. During today’s court hearing, prosecutors said they now believe Marnell received approximately $9 million in fraudulent loans – a number that could rise as the investigation continues.

The affidavit in support of the complaint alleges that Marnell submitted fraudulent loan applications that made numerous false and misleading statements about the companies’ business operations and payroll expenses. The affidavit also alleges that Marnell, often using aliases, submitted fake and altered documents, including bogus federal tax filings and employee payroll records.

The complaint further alleges that Marnell then transferred millions of dollars from the fraudulently obtained loan proceeds to his brokerage accounts to make risky stock market bets. The affidavit also outlines how Marnell spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulently obtained loan proceeds at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino and other gambling establishments as recently as last weekend.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act is the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses through the PPP. In April, Congress authorized more than $300 billion in additional PPP funding.

The PPP allows qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1 percent. Businesses must use PPP loan proceeds for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. The PPP allows the interest and principal to be forgiven if businesses spend the proceeds on these expenses within a set time period and use at least a certain percentage of the loan towards payroll expenses.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

The bank fraud count alleged in the complaint against Marnell carries a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General, the FBI, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Office of Inspector General, IRS Criminal Investigation, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General. The California Department of Justice – Bureau of Gambling Control provided assistance in the investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kerry Quinn of the Major Frauds Section and DOJ Trial Attorney Scott Armstrong of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form

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Health

Processions to Cedars Will Salute Healthcare Workers on National Nurses Day

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is putting a strain on essential workers such as first responders and healthcare workers who are on the frontlines in the effort to care for coronavirus patients so the City of West Hollywood is setting out to recognize them in a special way on May 6.

National Nurses Day is a day of recognition to celebrate and honor the contributions that nurses have made and continue to make in our communities and throughout the nation. National Nurses Day is celebrated annually on May 6, which marks the beginning of National Nurses Week, a week-long celebration to raise awareness of the value of nursing and educate the public on the role nurses play in meeting the healthcare needs of Americans. National Nurses Week concludes on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, or as she was more commonly known, “The Lady of the Lamp” and founder of modern nursing.

The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is coordinating two motorcades to honor healthcare workers on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, which is nationally recognized as National Nurses Day. The processions will begin at 9:45 a.m. and at 7:15 p.m. on Santa Monica Boulevard at La Cienega Boulevard and the motorcades will head west and then travel southbound on N. San Vicente Boulevard passing multiple medical center locations in West Hollywood en route to a destination outside the emergency room entrance of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Gracie Allen Drive. First responders will briefly stop, exit their vehicles and applaud healthcare workers while wearing face coverings and practicing appropriate social distancing.

“Our nurses and healthcare workers are nothing short of heroes,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore Lindsey P. Horvath. “The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us just how critical their work is to our everyday health and safety. This National Nurses Day means so much more to all of us — the City of West Hollywood and our LA County Sheriff’s West Hollywood Station and LA County Fire Stations; the City of Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills Police and Fire; the City of Los Angeles and LAPD and LAFD; the California Highway Patrol, and more — and we will honor these heroes in a special way for the care that they provide, which often goes unseen and unrecognized, in carrying us through this crisis.”

“As the worldwide response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, the critical importance of nurses in our society has been brought sharply into focus,” said City of West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman. “More often than not, when a coronavirus patient ends up in a hospital, it is the nurses at the frontlines who are responsible for their care and treatment, putting themselves at risk in the process. We can’t say ‘thank you’ strongly enough.”

The City of West Hollywood encourages residents and community members to participate during this day of celebration while still adhering to LA County Safer At Home Orders and social distancing requirements. Suggested forms of participation include amplifying posts on social media channels, making yard or window signs and banners, participating in a coordinated daily applause or shout out for nurses and healthcare workers, and donating to organizations that are addressing the emerging needs of nurses and healthcare workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) health pandemic.

According to the American Nursing Association, nursing is the nation’s largest healthcare profession, with more than four million registered nurses in the United States. Registered nurses comprise one of the largest segments of the U.S. workforce and are the primary providers of hospital patient care, delivering most of the nation’s long-term care. In nursing, where workers are on the front lines of patient interactions, women make up more than 85 percent of the workforce. This year, with the onset of coronavirus, nurses have stepped up and shown the incredible impact they have on our healthcare system. It is more important than ever that we recognize National Nurses Day and celebrate the significance of nurses every day.

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Health

Beverly Hills Votes To Resume Plastic Surgery Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

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Beverly Hills Votes To Resume Plastic Surgery Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

BEVERLY HILLS (TMZ) — This is insane, but the Beverly Hills City Council somehow thinks it’s a good idea to open the city up for what some rich folks consider to be super-essential services — a neck job.

The Bev Hills city council voted 4-1 Wednesday to resume elective and cosmetic surgeries, allowing plastic surgeons to immediately reopen their doors to celebs and rich folk in need of work.

Bev Hills has one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in all of L.A. County. The vote came just as Governor Gavin Newsom closed ALL of California’s beaches to prevent the spread of the virus, so why the immediate need for a nose job?

The City passed an ordinance back on March 16 — around the time California closed down — imposing a moratorium on cosmetic and other elective procedures.

The lone dissenter on the City Council called the vote “extremely irresponsible.”

The reversal should please lots of famous folks … remember, “Botched” star and doc Terry Dubrow told us last month tons of celebs are clamoring for plastic surgery while they are out of the public eye due to the outbreak.

What’s interesting … will this set up a battle between the CA Gov and the City Council of Bev Hills? Our $$$’s on Gavin.

Famous Facial Treatments

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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