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HELENA, Mont. - A Helena man pleaded guilty after he reportedly made false statements to receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that he used for his personal benefit.

Trevor Gene Lanius-McLeod plead guilty to bank fraud and to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a release, that in court documents, the government claimed that in April 2021, Lanius-McLeod applied for PPP loans through Valley Bank of Helena and lied on the applications and accompanying documentation.

Lanius-McLeod reportedly received $1,043,000 in fraudulent funds from the four loans.

In addition, Lanius-McLeod applied for and received a PPP loan for $340,000 on behalf of Renovated Montana Properties LLP, an entity he controlled.

Lanius-McLeod falsely stated that the company had paid payroll taxes and had 25 employees the DOJ reports.

Payroll taxes were never paid by the company, and it did not have any employees other than Lanius-McLeod, however, it sometimes employed independent contractors.

In a promissory note, Lanius-McLeod agreed to use the loan for payroll costs and other business-related expenses, and none of the loans was used for these purposes the release said.

Instead, the loan was used for personal expenses, including to pay the mortgage on Lanius-McLeod’s personal residence.

The DOJ says that without several false statements, Lanius-McLeod would not have qualified for this loan.

A plea agreement was filed in the case where the parties agreed that if the court accepts the plea agreement at sentencing, the government will seek dismissal of nine other counts charged in an indictment.

Lanius-McLeod faces a maximum of 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the bank fraud crime.

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