Steven Goldstein, 36, of Northridge, was arrested Thursday for fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits, wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy and making false statements to the Small Business Administration, according to a statement issued by the Department of Justice.
Raymond Magana, 39, of Santa Clarita, will be summoned to appear in federal court next month on the same charges. If convicted, Magana and Goldstein face a maximum sentence of 127 years in federal prison, the Justice Department said.
According to the criminal complaint, the pair allegedly fabricated multiple shell companies to apply for Payroll Protection Program loans, fabricating wage and tax documents as well as employee counts. One of the shell companies, The Building Circle, was allegedly approved for $940,416 in federal aid. Another, Forward Builders LLC, allegedly received $360,415.
“Investigators later determined that the Pico Rivera address given as The Building Circle’s headquarters was a 980-square-foot, single-family home that appeared to be a residence, not a business,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
Two other fake companies allegedly created by Magana and Goldstein, Beagle Real Estate and Antelope Valley Real Estate Development LLC, received a total of $655,000, the Justice Department reported. Goldstein allegedly transferred more than half of these funds to his personal bank account.
Nearly $649 billion in PPP loans have been made available to businesses across the country as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. Interest and principal are forgiven if a business spends the loan money on payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities within a certain time period.