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Coronavirus aid: California man arrested over fraud claim

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image copyrightAFP/US Department of Justice
image captionThe justice department issued a picture allegedly showing Andrew Marnell at a black jack table

A California man has been arrested over claims that he fraudulently obtained at least $8m (£6.4m) in coronavirus aid and used some of the money to gamble.

Andrew Marnell, 40, is accused of submitting bogus loan applications on behalf of several companies to secure Paycheck Protection Program funds.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles allege that he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at Las Vegas casinos.

He also allegedly used the funds to make high-risk stock market bets.

Mr Marnell faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of bank fraud.

The Paycheck Protection Program is a federal scheme intended to help small firms and prevent layoffs during the pandemic. It has provided more than half-a-trillion dollars, but has proved controversial.

Some analysts have said it is vulnerable to fraud, and that much of the money has gone to bigger companies that do not need help.

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