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A NASA executive is sentenced to 18 months for filing fake paperwork in pretense for COVID-19 relief.

Andrew Tezna has used more than $285,000 for a French bulldog and Disney membership. Tezna used the COVID-19 relief programs as his "personal piggy bank," said a US attorney.

Tezna's Expense Sheet

The Justice Department said that Tezna, 36, of Leesburg, Virginia, has applied more than $350,000 in COVID-19 relief from Paycheck Protection Program and Virginia unemployment.

Tezna pleaded guilty to one account of bank fraud last April.

The acting US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Raj Parekh, said that the NASA executive used the government's COVID-19 relief programs as his "personal piggy bank."

Here is the list of Tezna's known spending on the COVID-19 relief funds provided by the government:

  • French Bulldog - $6,450
  • Toyota Sienna - $16,447
  • Land Rover - $4,992.81
  • Disney Vacation Club - $2,500
  • Swimming Pool - $48,961.81
  • Personal Debt - $140,000

Tezna's languish expenses were quickly detected because he attempted to defraud his previous company NASA and various government outlets where he sourced his money from amidst the time of a global pandemic. 

Law enforcement officials previously interviewed Tezna in his home in December.

He said that he sold the house to repay the loans, according to reports before the sentence was carried out. However, after further investigation, he instead used it to buy a new home in Florida, based on a report by Chron.

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Government Discovery

The government said Tezna submitted three loan PPP applications to banks, totaling $272,284. After which, he submitted two more applications to the Small Business Administration for $69,500.

Not long after, he applied for $15,950 in COVID-related unemployment in Virginia, Business Insider reported.

Tenza also filed a false financial disclosure report to space agency NASA. According to court documents, he worked as a Senior Executive Service with the agency with a yearly salary of $170,801.

The former exec used a different name called Andalasia Designs for his PPP applications, saying that the company had three employees. Their supposed monthly payroll amounted to $34,700.

The company, however, does not have a payroll, the prosecutors said. 

Furthermore, Tenza used his mother-in-law's name, together with her social security number, and claimed that she was laid off from her job as a nanny, according to the Justice Department.

The Outcome

Parekh said in a statement on Thursday, July 15, saying: "While serving in a high-ranking position at NASA, this defendant used the identities of others to carry out a brazen scheme in which he exploited taxpayer-funded programs during the global pandemic for his own personal benefit."

US attorneys also filed the paperwork on Thursday, July 15, to attempt to retrieve $285,449.11 from Tezna.

He is currently servicing for 18 months for fraud.

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Written by Alec G.

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