WASHINGTON — A Brooklyn man admitted conspiring with another man from Saugerties to obtain more than $5.6 million in fraudulent loans from the U.S. government’s pandemic relief program, according to court records.

Sean M. Andre, 31, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Syracuse to conspiring to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. His co-conspirator, Jean R. Lavanture, 48, of Saugerties has been indicted on three counts of bank fraud and was arrested in September at a New Jersey mansion he bought with fraudulent loan money, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

In July and August, Andre and Lavanture submitted multiple fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program loans and one Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration, according to court records in their cases. The applications misrepresented the number of employees and amount of payroll at their companies and were supported by fake tax documents. In fact, Lavanture’s entities never had any employees or paid any taxes, the state Department of Labor reported. 

Lavanture paid Andre $157,578 in proceeds from the loans as payment for Andre crafting the fraudulent applications, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

The loan money was intended to support struggling small businesses and keep employees on staff during the pandemic, but Andre used the loan proceeds to purchase a 2019 Mercedes luxury SUV and transferred the…

Read more…