A man from Slovakia who also lists an address in St. Louis, Missouri appeared in U.S. District Court in St. Louis on Wednesday to answer an indictment that accuses him of fraudulently obtaining $730,500 in pandemic loans.
Mark Ethan Jermain, 40, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three felony counts of wire fraud.
An August 20 indictment accuses Jermain, aka Arsene Millogo, of submitting fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loan applications from April 26, 2020, to July 16, 2021. The PPP loans were intended to save American businesses and jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and the money was supposed to be spent on payroll and business expenses.
Jermain submitted a fraudulent loan application for Crazyeats LLC and two applications for Unimentors LLC, falsely inflating the monthly payroll for both companies and submitting falsified documents, including a credit card statement, to support the loan, the indictment says.
Jermain received three loans totaling $730,550, transferred the money to a Slovakian bank account, and spent the money for unauthorized purposes, including personal expenses, the indictment says.
A motion seeking to have Jermain held in jail until trial says Jermain has lived overseas since 2019. Jermain returned to the U.S. on August 17, 2023, and was scheduled to fly to Poland on Sept. 21 but changed his flight to Sept. 7, the day he was arrested in New York. Jermain was in the Slovak Republic at the time of the alleged fraud, the motion says.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in St. Louis has prosecuted or is involved in the investigation of at least 60 individuals who exploited pandemic-era programs.
Charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gwen Carroll is prosecuting the case.