A San Fernando Valley man pleaded guilty Monday to a federal fraud charge for obtaining $655,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans by submitting fake tax documents and false employee information.

Steven R. Goldstein, 36, of Northridge, entered his guilty plea via a Zoom hearing to a single federal count of fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Goldstein admitted to fraudulently obtaining $655,000 in PPP loans, according to his plea agreement.

U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. scheduled a March 30 sentencing hearing for Goldstein, who faces up to 30 years in federal prison.

Goldstein’s business partner, Raymond Magana, 39, of Santa Clarita, was charged in October with fraudulently obtaining PPP loans and is expected to surrender to federal authorities in the coming days.

Prosecutors say Goldstein applied for four different PPP loans to Bank of America totaling more than $1.2 million on behalf of various companies while using fake tax documents and false employee information.

Two of those PPP loans ultimately were approved and Goldstein’s companies received a total of $655,000 in PPP loan funds, court records show.

On the same day that the funds were issued to Goldstein’s companies, he transferred more than half the money into his personal bank accounts, prosecutors stated.

In total, Goldstein and Magana applied for more than five separate PPP business loans totaling more than $2.5 million from various banks, according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court.

The PPP loan program was launched at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and was designed to allow business owners to keep workers on their payroll.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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