NASA employee pleads guilty to COVID-19 loan fraud

Virginia

LEESBURG, Va. (WDVM) — A Senior Executive Service Employee at NASA is pleading guilty to submitting over $350,000 worth of fraudulent COVID-19 economic relief loans and benefits applications.

According to court documents, 36-year-old Andrew Tezna of Leesburg fraudulently submitted three loan applications to two financial institutions under the paycheck protection program (PPP).

Tezna also submitted two economic injury disaster loan program applications to the small business administration.

“Despite holding a senior executive position at NASA, the defendant applied for over $350,000 in fraudulent loans and benefits. In doing so, he essentially treated COVID-19 relief programs as a personal piggy bank, using funds intended to provide pandemic relief for small businesses and the unemployed to pay down his credit card debt, pay off loans for a residential pool and minivan, and pay a dog-breeder, among other personal expenses. EDVA will continue to hold accountable individuals who exploit a national economic crisis in order to unlawfully enrich themselves at the expense of those in genuine need due to the pandemic.”

Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia

Tezna also applied for COVID-related unemployment benefits from Virginia for his mother-in-law, who was retired and did not qualify for those benefits.

The NASA employee pleaded guilty to bank fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced July 16. Tezna could face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

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