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Crime & Safety

Group Claims LAPD Inaction on Koreatown Bike Shootings

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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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Lawsuits

Bev Hills Police Chief to Retire Amid Discrimination Lawsuits

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Bev Hills Police Chief to Retire Amid Discrimination Lawsuits

BEVERLY HILLS — Beverly Hills City Manager George Chavez announced that Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli will retire from the department, effective May 15, 2020.

NBC LA cites “several law enforcement and other sources” as saying that Spagnoli was notified “she had until Friday, April 24, to resign or face possible termination.”

Spagnoli joined BHPD in February of 2016 from the City of San Leandro in Northern California where she served as Chief since 2011.  She has been accused in multiple lawsuits of using slurs and making remarks about Jews, employees who were LGBTQ and people of color. NBCLA reports on allegations of promoting mostly white men and having sexual contact with employees.

“During the Chief’s tenure, crime was reduced while the department increased diversity, public outreach, best practices and advancements in technology,” said Chavez.  “We thank Chief Spagnoli for her service to our community and her three decades of public service in law enforcement.”

“I am grateful to have served Beverly Hills and proud of the accomplishments over the past 4 years to keep this world-class community one of the safest in the nation,” said Chief Spagnoli.

Chavez is expected to name an Interim Police Chief in the coming weeks. 

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Crime Blotter

WeHo Sheriff Crime Report – April 6 to 19, 2020

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West Hollywood Sheriff's Station Sign (Michael Dorausch/Flickr)

April 6th
Aggravated Assault – Other Weapon (Suspect Arrested)
Olive Drive / Santa Monica Blvd
04/06/2020 @ 1200. A man kicked the victim on his shoulder and stomped on his leg. The suspect also hit the victim with a wooden stick. The suspect was arrested by responding deputies. #01753

April 7th
Strong Arm Robbery
900 block Hammond Street
04/07/2020 @ 0010. A man pushed a woman and took her phone during an argument in the parking lot of the hotel. #01760

Vehicle Burglary
1100 block Clark Street
04/07/2020 @ 1900-1800. An unknown suspect removed registration paperwork from the glove box and a hair dryer from the trunk. No sign of forced entry. #01784

April 8th
Other Burglary
8200 block Santa Monica Blvd
04/08/2020 @ 0408. A man cut the security gate and smashed the front glass door but was scared away by an audible alarm. #01805

Strong Arm Robbery
1000 block N La Brea Avenue
04/08/2020 @ 1550. A man pulled a cell phone from the hands of an employee and ran from the store without payment. #01780

April 9th
Other Burglary (Suspect Arrested)
1000 block Spaulding Avenue
04/09/2020 @ 2200. A woman removed a window screen to gain access and removed credit cards, keys, and tools. The suspect was arrested by responding deputies. #01802

April 10th
Residential Burglary
7100 block Santa Monica Blvd
04/10/2020 @ 0930-1300. An unknown suspect removed a purse and cosmetics from the bathroom. No sign of forced entry. #01808

April 11th
Nothing significant to report.

April 12th
Aggravated Assault – Hands, Fist, Feet (Suspect Arrested)
800 block Palm Avenue
04/12/2020 @ 2215. A man punched and body slammed his roommate during an argument while inside of the residence. The suspect was arrested by responding deputies. #01821

April 13th
Grand Theft
8200 block Santa Monica Blvd
04/13/2020 @ 1030. A man removed a mountain bike and left the store without payment. #01837

April 14th
Grand Theft
1100 block Ogden Drive
04/14/2020 @ 2000-1300. An unknown suspect cut the lock and removed a mountain bike from the unsecured sub parking garage. #01900

Armed Carjacking (Suspects Arrested)
8600 block Rugby Drive
04/14/2020 @ 1515. A woman was sitting in her car when a man approached while armed with a handgun and told her to the exit the vehicle. The victim ran from the car and the suspect tried to steal the vehicle but the keys were with the victim. Another man acted as a lookout and pointed a handgun at a pedestrian that walked up as the incident was occurring. The suspects ran to a nearby vehicle and fled the area. Three suspects were arrested by responding deputies and a replica handgun was recovered. #01856

April 15th
Nothing significant to report.

April 16th
Other Burglary
8400 block Santa Monica Blvd
04/16/2020 – 04/18/2020. An unknown suspect smashed the front door to gain entry and ransacked a storage shed. The victim was unsure if any property was taken. #01894

Vehicle Burglary
1100 block Sherbourne Drive
04/16/2020 @ 2300-1600. An unknown suspect smashed the rear windshield and removed sunglasses and a key fob from the center console. #01887

Vehicle Burglary
8200 block Santa Monica Blvd
04/16/2020 @ 2000-2041. An unknown suspect forced a partially open window down and removed a backpack containing a camera, taser, cell phone, radio, $800 cash, flashlight, and credit cards from the front floorboard. #01883

April 17th
Vehicle Burglary
1200 block Genesee Avenue
04/17/2020 @ 1700-1300. An unknown suspect removed paperwork from the glove box. No sign of forced entry. #01925


Vehicle Burglary
7700 block Lexington Avenue
04/17/2020 @ 0900-1100. An unknown suspect removed a laptop computer from the rear floorboard. No sign of forced entry. #01942

April 18th
Other Burglary
8200 block Santa Monica Blvd
04/18/2020 @ 0333. A man jumped the perimeter fence and gained access to the bar area. The suspect removed an air compressor and paint gun. #01906

April 19th
Nothing significant to report.

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