A senior NASA employee was sentenced last week to 18 months in prison for submitting fraudulent applications for over $350,000 in COVID-19 economic relief loans and benefits.

“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,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, in a news release.

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…

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