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Helena man admits to bank fraud, received $1 million in COVID-19 relief loans

Crime Watch
Posted at 4:44 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 19:47:10-05

HELENA — A Helena man has pleaded guilty to bank fraud involving $1 million in COVID-19 relief loans.

Trevor Gene Lanius-McLeod, 48, admitted to bank fraud Wednesday in federal court and to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity. Lanius-McLeod faces a maximum of 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the bank fraud crime.

According to court documents, in April 2021, Lanius-McLeod applied for four PPP loans through Valley Bank of Helena and lied on the applications and accompanying documentation. As a result, Lanius-McLeod received $1,043,000 in funds from the four loans.

The PPP program provided emergency assistance to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses.

Lanius-McLeod applied for and received a PPP loan for $340,000 on behalf of Renovated Montana Properties LLP, an entity he controlled. Prosecutors say Lanius-McLeod would not have qualified for this loan as his company did not pay payroll taxes and Lanius-McLeod was the only employee, although the business did use subcontractors.

Lanius-McLeod is accused of using the loan for personal expenses, including paying the mortgage on his personal residence.

Co-defendant Kasey Jones Wilson of Laurel pleaded guilty to bank fraud and is awaiting sentencing.