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Crime

Coachella Valley businessman admits to cheating NorCal bank

A former CEO of a La Quinta-based communications company pleaded guilty today to fraud connected to the procurement of about $5 million in loans approved based on bogus asset statements, resulting in a $3.4 million loss to a Northern California bank.

Richard Loren Lewis, 67, of La Quinta admitted charges of bank fraud and making a false statement to a financial institution as part of a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The admissions were made before U.S. District Judge John Holcomb in Riverside, who scheduled a sentencing hearing for July 30. The possible maximum sentence is 30 years in federal prison.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, between April 2013 and April 2016, Lewis, in his capacity as CEO of Blue Wave Media Inc., applied for and obtained loans from Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, using financial documents, including income statements, with inflated claims regarding revenue streams and liquidity.

A total of four loans were approved based on the misrepresentations, prosecutors said.

"As a result of Lewis' fraudulent scheme, Silicon Valley Bank sustained actual losses of approximately $3,414,064,'' according to a U.S. Attorney's Office statement.

There was no indication of how the funds were spent.

The FBI handled the investigation.

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City News Service

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