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Oregon man pleads guilty to bank fraud in COVID relief scheme

As part of his plea agreement, Russell Schort has agreed to pay at least $294,552 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury.
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PORTLAND, Ore. — A man from Sweet Home pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars intended to help small businesses during the pandemic.

Russell Schort, 39, pleaded guilty to bank fraud on July 1.

The U.S. District Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon said Schort and his accomplice, Andrew Lloyd, took advantage of the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

According to court documents, on May 1, 2020, Lloyd submitted a PPP loan application under Schort's business name, Schort Lee Construction, to U.S. Bank. The loan application included a false IRS form listing more than $3 million in paid wages in 2019. The application also included a fake list of 56 employees and their wages.

U.S. Bank processed the PPP loan application, sending more than $600,000 to Schort's bank account. Schort transferred $307,000 to Lloyd's bank account three days later. Lloyd used the funds to buy securities through an online brokerage account.

On Jan. 5, 2021, Schort was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

Schort faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine and five years of supervised released. As part of his plea agreement, Schort has agreed to pay at least $294,552 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury.

Schort will be sentenced on Sept. 9, 2021.

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