A Myrtle Creek man was taken into federal custody Wednesday after authorities discovered he and another Oregon man were involved in a scheme to steal coronavirus pandemic benefits.
U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced the charges after an investigation found that Russell A. Schort, 38, of Myrtle Creek, and Andrew Aaron Lloyd, 50, of Lebanon, allegedly skimmed $2.2 million dollars from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Both men face wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering charges in relation to the CARES Act.
A complaint filed with United States District Court alleges that Lloyd and Schort first popped up on the FBI’s radar when suspicious financial activities were noticed in April 2020. Between April 7 and May 8, 2020, Lloyd and Schort were suspected of applying for and receiving three separate Paycheck Protection Program loans, totaling more than $2.2 million.
The complaint further alleges that Lloyd transferred at least $1.8 million to a personal online brokerage account and purchased various securities which, in the coming months, reportedly saw a significant increase in value.
When those accounts were seized by federal agents they were valued at more than $10 million.
FBI agents took Schort into custody on Jan. 6. Lloyd was arrested the next day.
The Small Business Association and Internal Revenue Service assisted in the investigation.