Andrew (Nestor) Tezna Pleads Guilty To COVID-19 Related Loan Fraud

Keith's 22 April update: Sources report that despite pleading guilty to COVID-19 Related Loan Fraud Andrew (Nestor) Tezna still works at NASA - in his capacity of running the NASA CFO Policy & Grants Office as is shown in this org chart. He is still being paid for official duties related to the financial operations and integrity of NASA - even though this loan issue was discovered as long ago as December 2020. He led the COVID-19 response efforts and got an award for that. And apparently when he travelled - he approved his own travel orders.

Note: NASA only provides statements like this to some media - but not others: NASA executive spent $272,000 in COVID loans on pool, cars and dog breeder, feds say, News and Observer

"A representative from NASA did not confirm Tezna's current employment status but provided the following statement: "NASA is aware of reports concerning fraud charges brought against an employee unrelated to the individual's work for the agency," the statement reads. "NASA refers all inquiries to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, which has jurisdiction over this ongoing matter."

But wait NASA says that "NASA is aware of reports concerning fraud charges"? Really - that's all? It is more than "reports about charges". Tezna pled guilty and will be sentenced on 16 July. Its over. And yet NASA is only aware of the "reports of charges"?

But the NASA OIG seems to take this far more seriously - from the DOJ release: "As a NASA senior executive, the Agency placed a great deal of trust in Tezna. Taking advantage of the CARES Act to fraudulently obtain PPP loans not only violated the Agency's trust, but the trust of American people that sought assistance for the legitimate needs of their struggling businesses," said Special Agent in Charge Mark J. Zielinski, NASA Office of Inspector General, Eastern Field Office."

I am trying to imagine what the reaction would have been for this guy to apply for his present position at NASA with this sort of criminal offense on his resume. I doubt they'd hire him to do government finances. That said, why does he still have those responsibilities after a guilty plea for financial crimes? In other words Why is Andrew Tezna still working at NASA?

Senior NASA Employee Pleads Guilty to COVID-19 Related Loan Fraud, DOJ

"According to court documents, Andrew Tezna, 36, of Leesburg, fraudulently submitted three loan applications to two financial institutions (totaling $272,284) under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a federal initiative designed to help businesses pay their employees and meet their basic expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tezna also submitted two Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program applications to the Small Business Administration (totaling $69,500), and he applied for COVID-related unemployment benefits from Virginia, ostensibly for his mother-in-law, who was retired and did not qualify for the benefits (totaling $15,950). In support of the fraudulent PPP loan applications, Tezna submitted fabricated IRS tax returns and fraudulently claimed payroll expenses that did not exist."

NASA employee submitted over $350,000 in fraudulent COVID-19 loans, benefits, Fox43

"Tezna used the money to pay off a personal loan for a residential pool, a personal loan for a minivan, credit card debt, a dog breeder and even put a down payment on a new car, court documents say."

PPP Loan Data -- Nestor Tezna, Leesburg, VA: "Nestor Tezna in Leesburg, VA received a Paycheck Protection Loan of $172,966 through Celtic Bank Corporation, which was approved in May, 2020."

NESTOR TEZNA, SBA.com: "NESTOR TEZNA is in the All Other Personal Services industry, has a $150,000 - $350,000 PPP loan from Celtic Bank Corporation, and has potentially retained 0 jobs."

Keith's note: Andy (Nestor) Tezna is (or was) acting head of the NASA CFO Policy & Grants Office. Prior to that he was NASA's Financial Policy and Compliance Director/Senior Travel Official, and prior to that, Chief and Financial Policy & Compliance at NASA HQ. While applying for fraudulent PPP loans during the COVID pandemic he actually signed off on this NASA COVID-19 Grant Information Circular. I have found a dozen links with this info - some from last year. It is not like this was a secret and he jumped on this as early as May 2020. He was some kind of a civic leader of sorts in Loudoun County (see Loudoun 40 Under 40 - go to page 31 screengrab). Several sources report that he liked to post pictures of himself and his wife on Instagram as they visited Trump Winery in Virginia. That account has been taken offline.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on April 22, 2021 10:00 PM.

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