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Hollywood Exec Arrested On Charges Of Misusing COVID-19 Small Business Relief Funds

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The former head of Aviron Pictures was arrested today on charges that he misused federal small business loan funds.

The U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California is charging William Sadleir with fraudulently applying for a $1.7 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal loan program designed to help small businesses affected by coronavirus to pay their employees.

"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.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Sadleir used the loan on personal expenses, including car payments and credit card bills.

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Meanwhile, small businesses around the country have reported difficulty accessing Paycheck Protection Program funds, and expressed frustration that much of the initial round of funding went to large companies.

Here's Hanna again:

"The Paycheck Protection Program was implemented to help small businesses stay afloat during the financial crisis, and we will act swiftly against those who abuse the program for their own personal gain."

Sadleir was charged with additional fraud today by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.