Feds: Fraudster blew $30K in Vegas with virus loan money

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A convicted bank robber from Rhode Island fraudulently obtained $600,000 in forgivable federal business loans and spent $30,000 in Las Vegas before being caught, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Michael Moller, 41, of Middletown, was held without bail pending trial at an appearance Tuesday in federal court.

Moller in April filed for $4.7 million in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program to pay employees at businesses he said were based in Fall River, Massachusetts, prosecutors said. There was no evidence those businesses existed, authorities said.

In addition to filing for loans in his own name, he applied for loans using his father’s name, his girlfriend’s brother’s name, and his girlfriend’s son’s name, authorities said.

The federal program’s funds are intended for businesses struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He actually received $600,000 through the program, and spent $30,000 of it on a trip to Las Vegas, authorities said.

Moller, who also goes by Michael Robinson, is charged with making false statements and bank fraud.

According to court records, Moller remains on probation stemming from previous bank robbery convictions in Massachusetts. At the time of the robberies, he was on probation for a fraud conviction.

An email and phone call seeking comment was left with his federal public defender.

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