San Jose man allegedly bought cryptocurrency, Tesla with PPP loan

SAN JOSE — A man was arrested after authorities say he fraudulently took advantage of federal pandemic relief programs, illicitly gaining about $2 million dollars which he used to buy cryptocurrency, purchase a Tesla and dine at restaurants.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, 40-year-old Lebnitz Tran, of San Jose, allegedly submitted 27 phony applications to the Paycheck Protection Program and at least seven applications to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, both of which were established to help businesses across the country weather the financial storms of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tran is accused of working up applications “on behalf of multiple persons and business entities, using false and fictitious information and documents, including falsified employee information, fictitious or grossly exaggerated payroll figures, and fake tax documents.”

A federal indictment claims Tran sought more than $8 million in all during his scheme, and obtained over $3.6 million in loans, and ultimately came away with about $2 million.