ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced a University City business owner to prison and ordered him to repay more than half-a-million dollars that he took in from the bank and COVID-19 pandemic-related fraud.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Le Mell Harlston pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in August to five counts of bank fraud and nine counts of misuse of a Social Security number. U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Clark sentenced him on Friday to 30 months in prison and ordered him to repay $650,000.
Harlston used a Social Security number assigned to a Kansas City-area minor and an unassigned number to apply for loans and lines of credit at credit unions and banks. He also applied for a series of government loans designed to help business owners weather the pandemic using another minor’s Social Security number on the application. He also received multiple pandemic loans using his own Social Security number after certifying that he was applying for only one loan.
Harlston’s businesses included Phillies Cheesesteaks in University City.