US Charges Ousted Hollywood Executive With Defrauding Pandemic Loan Program, BlackRock Fund

Home Business US Charges Ousted Hollywood Executive With Defrauding Pandemic Loan Program, BlackRock Fund
US Charges Ousted Hollywood Executive With Defrauding Pandemic Loan Program, BlackRock Fund

NEW YORK—U.S. prosecutors have charged the recently ousted owner of a Hollywood movie distributor with defrauding a federal CCP virus emergency relief program and a BlackRock investment fund, including to pay for a Beverly Hills mansion and other luxuries.

Prosecutors said William Sadleir, 66, diverted much of the $1.7 million of loans he received on May 1 from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for personal expenses.

He allegedly did this after falsely telling JPMorgan Chase and the Small Business Administration the funds were meant for his former company Aviron Group, which had terminated him in December and where he has no current role.

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A sign hangs on One Chase Plaza in lower Manhattan, New York City, on Oct. 14, 2014. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The PPP was meant “to help small businesses stay afloat during the financial crisis, and we will act swiftly against those who abuse the program for their own personal gain,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna in Los Angeles said in a statement.

Sadleir was also accused of having previously induced the closed-end BlackRock Multi-Sector Income Trust Fund to invest $75 million in Aviron to support its films.

Prosecutors said he then created a sham company to conceal his use of the money, and assumed the fake identity “Amanda Stevens” to communicate by email with the BlackRock fund about its investment.

In a related civil case, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Sadleirs “lavish lifestyle” also included a $127,000 Tesla.

A lawyer for Sadleir could not immediately be identified. A BlackRock spokesman declined to comment.

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