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Hollywood Executive To Plead Guilty To Fraudulently Claiming $1.7M In Covid Relief Funds

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A former Hollywood executive will plead guilty to charges that he fraudulently claimed $1.7 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans.

William Sadleir, 67, of Beverly Hills, will enter his plea next week. Federal officials allege Sadleir applied for CARES Act loans in 2020 and said he would use the money for payroll at Aviron Pictures – the production company he founded and formerly ran.

Instead, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California says he used the money for personal expenses, including credit card payments. Sadleir is facing one count of bank fraud and one count of money laundering.

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Sadleir received loans for three Aviron entities under the agreement that the funds would be used to support payroll costs for 33 employees.

The Aviron businesses weren’t operational at the time.

In his plea agreement, Sadleir admitted that he “expended a substantial amount of the fraudulent loan proceeds on utility bills, mortgage expenses, and his personal attorney, among other things,” according to the office. Sadleir agreed to pay full restitution.

The two charges can bring a maximum sentence in federal prison of 50 years. Sadleir has already pleaded guilty to separate charges in New York that he misappropriated $25 million in funds invested in Aviron Pictures. His sentencing in that case is expected in May.

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