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Santa Clarita man admits to pandemic fraud scheme

OW Staff | 9/17/2021, 6 a.m.
A San Fernando Valley man was sentenced this week to a year and a day in...

A San Fernando Valley man was sentenced this week to a year and a day in federal prison for obtaining $655,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans by submitting fake tax documents and false employee information.

Steven R. Goldstein, 37, of Northridge, was also ordered to pay restitution in that amount, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Last December, Goldstein pleaded guilty to a single federal count of fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits.

Goldstein's business partner, Raymond Magana, 40, of Santa Clarita, pleaded guilty in January to fraudulently obtaining PPP loans and is expected to be sentenced next month.

Prosecutors say Goldstein applied for four different PPP loans to Bank of America totaling more than $1.2 million on behalf of various companies while using fake tax documents and false employee information.

Two of those PPP loans ultimately were approved, and Goldstein's companies received a total of $655,000 in PPP loan funds.

On the same day that the funds were issued to Goldstein's companies, he transferred more than half the money into his personal bank accounts, according to prosecutors.

In total, Goldstein and Magana applied for more than five separate PPP business loans totaling more than $2.5 million from various banks, documents filed in Los Angeles federal court show.

The PPP loan program was launched at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and was designed to allow business owners to keep workers on their payroll.