July 12, 2020 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Beverly Hills Man Arrested for Pocketing COVID-19 Relief Money

William Sadleir, recently ousted chair of indie distributor Aviron Pictures, arrested on federal corruption charges.

By Kerry Slater

A Beverly Hills man–the recently ousted chair of a major indie studio–has been arrested by the FBI for pocketing a portion of a $1.7 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to pay off personal credit card debts, among other personal expenses.

On Thursday William Sadleir, 66, of Beverly Hills, was taken into custody without incident by special agents with the FBI, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General (SBA OIG), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC OIG).

Sadleir–the recently ousted head of Aviron Pictures–was arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint that accuses him of fraudulently filing bank loan applications that sought more than $1.7 million dollars in forgivable PPP loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Sadleir allegedly obtained the forgivable loans by falsely representing that the funds would be used to support payroll expenses, when, in fact, Sadleir intended to use and did use a significant portion of the funds for personal and non-business-related expenses.

“This film producer allegedly made a series of misrepresentations to a bank and the Small Business Administration to illegally secure taxpayer money that he then used to fund his nearly empty personal bank account,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna.

The complaint, which was filed Thursday and unsealed after his arrest today, charges Sadleir with wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution, and making false statements to the Small Business Administration.

According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, Sadleir last month caused applications for PPP loans to be submitted to JPMorgan Chase on behalf of Aviron Group, LLC; Aviron Licensing, LLC; and Aviron Releasing, LLC dba Regatta. The bank approved the loans, and Sadleir received more than $1.7 million. “[I]mmediately upon receiving the funds a significant amount was diverted to Sadleir’s personal accounts and used for personal expenses,” the complaint alleges.

“This defendant allegedly used Paycheck Protection Program loans to pay off his personal credit card debts and other personal expenses, rather than using the funds for legitimate business needs,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “As the department has made clear, those who defraud the PPP to line their own pockets at the expense of the American people will be brought to justice.”

Sadleir was terminated from Aviron Pictures in late 2019, and people associated with the film production company told investigators that Sadleir currently had no role in Aviron Pictures or the related entities, according to the affidavit, which notes that Aviron Group, Aviron Licensing and Aviron Releasing are not engaged in any ongoing operations.

Authorities have linked Sadleir to the three PPP loan applications made on behalf of the three Aviron entities. All three applications claimed each company had 33 employees and monthly payroll expenses of well over $200,000. On April 30, JPMorgan Chase approved the loan applications, and the next day money was wired to nearly empty JPMorgan Chase bank accounts associated with the three entities.

Within days, nearly $1 million of the PPP loan money was transferred into Sadleir’s personal account at JPMorgan Chase, the affidavit alleges. Investigators have determined that some of this money was used to pay personal expenses, including payments to Sadleir’s and his wife’s American Express cards. One payment allegedly made with PPP loan proceeds – a $40,000 payment on Sadleir’s car loan – was reversed and JPChase Morgan froze the accounts associated with the alleged scheme.

The four charges alleged in the criminal complaint collectively carry a maximum statutory penalty of 82 years in federal prison.

Related Posts

A new way to say Thank You to healthcare workers: Westside Beat – July, 9, 2020

July 9, 2020

July 9, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * A new way to say Thank You to healthcare workers. *...

Edify TV: Veterans Row

July 9, 2020

July 9, 2020

“It’s really devastating. We Veterans serve in this country and this is what we get,” says a U.S. Army Veteran...

Fatal Collision Occurs in Culver City

July 7, 2020

July 7, 2020

By Staff Writer A fatal traffic collision occurred in Culver City Tuesday morning in which police believe that alcohol may...

Video: Santa Monica Mask Fines

July 7, 2020

July 7, 2020

The City of Santa Monica has authorized fines of up to $1,000 for failing to wear a mask. Learn more...

New mixed use development coming to Palms! Westside Beat – July, 6, 2020

July 6, 2020

July 6, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * New mixed use development coming to Palms! *Covid-19 surge creates hospital...

Man Arrested for Stabbing Culver City Mosque Security Guard

July 6, 2020

July 6, 2020

Man attempts to enter Culver City mosque, stabs security guard By Sam Catanzaro Police have arrested a man for stabbing...

Westside Sees Unhealthy Air Quality After Fireworks

July 5, 2020

July 5, 2020

Fireworks continue in LA County despite ban By Sam Catanzaro Air quality throughout most of Los Angeles County ranged from...

Culver City Arson Suspect Arrested Two Days in a Row

July 3, 2020

July 3, 2020

Culver City Police Department (CCPD) same person two days in a row By Sam Catanzaro Culver City police arrested the...

COVID-19 Outbreak at Culver City Police Department

July 2, 2020

July 2, 2020

Multiple CCPD officers test positive for COVID-19 By Sam Catanzaro The Culver City Police Department (CCPD) has announced an outbreak...

LA city council cuts LAPD budget by $150 million: Westside Beat – July, 2, 2020

July 2, 2020

July 2, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Police search for suspects in road rage stabbing. * LA city...

Newsom Orders Indoor Dining Close in LA

July 1, 2020

July 1, 2020

Earlier this week Los Angeles County’s public health director said that almost half of restaurants and bars were not following...

Man Sought Who Aimed Gun at Women at Westfield Culver City

June 30, 2020

June 30, 2020

Man aims gun at two women, lead police on chase that ends in crash By Staff Writer Police continue a...

Video: West Los Angeles VA Tent Row

June 30, 2020

June 30, 2020

What is the deal with the row of tents outside the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus? Learn more in...

LA Health cracks down on bars and restaurants: Westside Beat – June, 29, 2020

June 29, 2020

June 29, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * New development coming to Washington blvd. * LA Health cracks down...

County Reports Nearly 3,000 Coronavirus Cases, Highest Single-Day Tally

June 29, 2020

June 29, 2020

One in every 140 people in the county has the virus and is infectious, say LA County health officials By...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *