A 36-year-old Leesburg man pleaded guilty Monday to submitting fraudulent applications for more than $350,000 in COVID-19 economic relief loans and benefits.
Andrew Tezna, a Senior Executive Service employee of NASA, was charged with fraudulently submitting three loan applications to two financial institutions to secure $272,284 under the Paycheck Protection Program and two Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program applications to the Small Business Administration totaling $69,500. Federal investigators found that he also applied for COVID-related unemployment benefits from Virginia, ostensibly for his retired mother-in-law, gaining another $15,950.
“Despite holding a senior executive position at NASA, the defendant applied for over $350,000 in fraudulent loans and benefits,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, in the announcement of the guilty plea in Federal District Court. “In doing so, he essentially treated COVID-19 relief programs as a personal piggy bank, using funds intended to provide pandemic relief for small businesses and the unemployed to pay down his credit card debt, pay off loans for a residential pool and minivan, and pay a dog-breeder, among other personal expenses. EDVA will continue to hold accountable individuals who exploit a national economic crisis in order to unlawfully enrich themselves at the expense of those in genuine need due to the pandemic.”
Tezna faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison when he returns to court for sentencing July 16.
Other Loudoun residents also have been caught misusing federal COVID-19 relief efforts: