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California man accused of gambling away COVID relief funds in Vegas

michal parzuchowski gikvy ks9vq unsplash California man accused of gambling away COVID relief funds in Vegas

A California man was arrested and ordered held without bond on Thursday for fraudulently obtaining some $9 million in coronavirus relief funds and using some of the money to gamble in Las Vegas.

Andrew Marnell, 40, a resident of the Beverly Grove neighborhood of Los Angeles, California allegedly submitted a number of fraudulent loan applications in relation to the coronavirus pandemic and obtained millions in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds.

Prosecutors say he used some of the money to make risky stock market bets, and squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino and other gambling establishments in Las Vegas as recently as last weekend.

The PPP loans were part of the unprecedented $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which provided aid for millions of Americans suffering from the economic effects of the pandemic.

Authorities said Marnell, who was due back in court next Tuesday, faces up to 30 years in prison on the bank fraud charge.

Meanwhile, in another news, a 73-year-old man was killed by police in Canada just hours after refusing to wear a face mask in a grocery store, the country’s public broadcaster the CBC reported Thursday.

The man allegedly assaulted a grocery store employee Wednesday after he was asked to follow laws about wearing face masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the CBC said, citing Ontario police.

The man refused, according to an employee at the store in Minden, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) north of Toronto, and fled after the incident.

Police were called but did not stop the suspect’s car “in the interest of public safely,” they said. Instead, they used his license plate to find his house.

Two officers were involved in the shooting, which was also confirmed by an independent investigation.

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