BUFFALO – The U.S. Attorney says a 44-year-old Little Valley man has plead guilty to fraudulently obtaining and laundering nearly $1 million in funds from the COVID-19 relief Paycheck Protection Program.
Adam Arena pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge William Skretny to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and engaging in monetary transactions with criminally derived proceeds.
Attorneys say that in May 2020, Arena reinstated his previously inactive business, ADA Auto Group, which had been inactive since 2018. He then provided his date of birth, social security number, address, and ADA Auto Group’s Employer Identification Number, Articles of Incorporation, along with a bank account number, for the purpose of facilitating the preparation of a fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
On July 27, co-defendant Amanda Gloria allgedly submitted a PPP loan application for ADA Auto Group to a financial institution via email seeking a $954,000 loan. Along with the application, it is alleged Gloria submitted fraudulent supporting documents, including tax forms and payroll reports.
These documents claimed ADA Auto Group employed 50 people in 2019 with an annual payroll of more than $4.4 million. On August 10, 2020, Arena allegedly directed the financial institution to wire the proceeds of the approved PPP loan for ADA Auto Group into a business account controlled exclusively by him.
On September 11, 2020, Arena paid Gloria approximately $24,135 in PPP funds for facilitating the submission of the fraudulent PPP loan application. None of the funds Arena received were ever used for business-related expenses.
Charges remain pending against Gloria. The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.