Fascinating business

Tampa drug dealer got more PPP money after being flagged in a news story

Tampa medical assistant Anthony Yarand was featured in a 2020 Miami Herald investigation after his businesses received numerous Paycheck Protection Program loans, even though he was facing a slew of drug charges.

But the negative publicity and his ongoing legal troubles haven’t slowed Yarand down. Companies linked to him have been approved for even more money in 2021.

This is despite the fact that business owners facing criminal felony charges have been barred from receiving money from the federal COVID-19 relief program.

In total, Yarand-linked businesses, which had a dermatology clinic and a skincare line, have been approved for more than $1 million from the program, with nearly 60% of that total coming in 2021 after the Herald shed light on Yarand’s bad loans, according to the latest data from the US Small Business Administration, which administered the program.

Small business loans, a signature board in the federal government’s COVID-19 relief efforts, were forgivable if used for payroll and other approved expenses and nearly $650,000 of the money for which Yarand enterprises were approved were forgiven.

While some approved loans that appear in the data were canceled by banks before borrowers got the funds, the fact that Yarand companies got many of the loans given to them forgiven suggests that they received most of the funds they requested.

The $800 billion program relied on banks and other lenders to vet and approve potential borrowers. The lenders did not bring in the money themselves, but they received a commission for each loan they approved on a sliding scale based on the size of the loan.

The fact that Yarand companies have continued to be approved for these new loans, in some cases by the same lenders who approved the first loans in 2020, raises the question of what due diligence, if any, these companies have performed. before approving funds. Banks were also required to approve loan forgiveness requests, and all of Yarand’s forgiveness requests were approved after the Herald’s story has been published.

While the program has undoubtedly kept many struggling businesses afloat, the example of Yarand’s businesses illustrates why the program has been plagued with so much fraud. The Small Business Association’s Office of Inspector General estimated that $7 billion in loans were issued to potentially ineligible or fraudulent recipients in the program’s first year alone.

The majority of Yarand’s business loans have been approved by online financial technology, or FinTech, lenders or their partner banks. These lenders have been associated with a high share of fraudulent lending in the scheme and two of the lenders who have approved more than a third of the money Yarand’s businesses have received, Cross River Bank and Celtic Bank, are currently doing the under investigation by the House Oversight Committee. Select the coronavirus crisis subcommittee for approving a disproportionate number of fraudulent PPP loans.

Harvest Small Business Finance, which approved two loans on behalf of Yarand, was the main partner of Womply, a digital marketing platform turned PPP loan facilitator that is also being investigated by the same committee.

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Yarand’s 2021 business loans came as his case gained momentum in the Hillsborough County court system.

Related: ‘Everyone was a suspect’: Medical assistant arrested for dealing meth and charged with heroin

Yarand pleaded guilty on August 10, 2021 to nine drug-related charges, including drug trafficking, and was sentenced to two years in prison. Two days later, the two $20,000 PPP loans taken out in Yarand’s name were cancelled.

“A Complete Crook”

Anthony Loren Yarand’s dermatology clinic, Anthony Loren Skincenter, was, by all appearances, a success.

The clinic boasted of being one of the “top 3% injectors” in the United States, according to Allergan, the maker of Botox and other injectable dermal fillers. And Yarand launched a line of Anthony Loren skincare products in 2013.

But he managed to alienate some business partners along the way.

Physician assistants must have a supervising physician review their records and sign off on their work. Derek Eichler, who was friends with Yarand at the time, agreed to be Yarand’s supervising physician in November 2011.

“I had been around him with patients and he was really good at what he did,” Eichler said. Eichler said they agreed he would receive 10% of Yarand’s proceeds as a fee for his work.

But while Yarand’s business boomed, Eichler’s income remained steady. He grew suspicious and eventually broke off the relationship and filed a lawsuit against Yarand in 2017 claiming he was owed money.

Yarand countered that their contract did not specifically state that Eichler was to receive 10% of his proceeds as a fee. He then argued that Eichler’s complaint had exceeded the statute of limitations and that a complaint filed with the Florida Board of Medicine that Eichler’s primary practice was more than 75 miles from Yarand’s office meant that he had not legally provided the services he had accepted.

The trial is ongoing.

“In retrospect, he was a complete crook,” Eichler said.

Two other doctors sued Yarand and a lawyer in 2011 after he invested in what was believed to be a series of dermatology clinics offering Botox and similar treatments. Yarand was eventually dropped from the suit, but a jury found in favor of the two doctors, ordering the attorney to pay over $550,000 in damages.

Yarand’s businesses began applying for PPP loans in the spring of 2020. Anthony Loren LLC and Skinfully Yours LLC were approved for a total of $117,363 by Cross River Bank in late April and early May 2020. Both listed the address from Anthony Loren Skincenter on their applications.

Three other Yarand-related businesses listing the same address were approved for an additional $207,559 in May and June through different lenders. A newly formed company called Your Face is Hot LLC, listing Yarand’s home address, was approved for $108,045 in July. The company filed its first incorporation documents with the State of Florida on June 4, 2020, well past the February 15, 2020 date when companies were supposed to have been created to qualify for loans under the program.

The program was closed in August 2020 but reopened in January 2021.

At that time, the Herald’s A December 2020 article featuring Yarand had been published, but two of Yarand’s businesses were still approved for a second round of funding in January by Cross River Bank, for a total of $178,074. In February, the U.S. bank approved Anthony Loren Skincare LLC for a second PPP loan of $67,385 after approving the company for a first PPP loan of the same amount in June 2020.

In total, Yarand-related businesses have been approved for four more PPP loans totaling $489,575, including a Daytona Beach company, Uneek LLC, which was reinstated in February 2021 after failing to file annual returns with the State of Florida in 2020 and 2021.

The company’s most recent annual report lists Yarand as one of its officers and the business address was changed to Yarand’s clinic location shortly after the PPP loans were approved.

Yarand was also approved for two $20,833 PPP loans in his own name in April and May 2021 by Harvest Small Business Finance, both of which were pardoned two days after pleading guilty to drug charges.

the Herald contacted all the banks that provided loans to Yarand’s businesses. None of them were willing to discuss Yarand’s loans or how they screened potential borrowers for eligibility.

Yarand’s clinic now appears to be closed, and Yarand’s license was suspended in October. Yarand’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

‘Blinking lights’

Yarand is now calling an Okaloosa County jail cell, but at the time of his arrest in March 2019, Yarand was living on the cul-de-sac of an affluent, gated suburban community in Tampa Bay called The Retreat at Carrollwood.

Yarand had bought the house a year earlier and soon after began to gain notoriety among his neighbors due to his raging pit bull and a constant stream of vehicles showing up at his house at all hours of the day, said said Jeff Ziegler, a neighbor and former St. Petersburg police officer.

Sometimes, says Ziegler, the young men would be dropped off in the middle of the night by taxis and knock on neighbors’ doors looking for Yarand.

“It was a quiet neighborhood, people were outside, kids were playing,” Ziegler said. “You could have put flashing lights on your house and drawn less attention to yourself.”

In February 2019, officers from the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office received a tip about a “cosmetic doctor named ‘Anthony Loien’ who distributed methamphetamine and other illegal substances to young men in the Tampa area” who lived in retirement in Carrollwood, according to a search warrant.

Sheriff’s deputies quickly realized the complaint referred to Yarand and searched a trash can outside Yarand’s home shortly after, finding edible marijuana and a glass pipe that tested positive for methamphetamine.

When Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies broke down Yarand’s door three weeks later to execute the search warrant, they found just under 170 grams of methamphetamine and smaller amounts of heroin, cocaine and drugs. ecstasy in a safe in Yarand’s room, along with $6,800 in counterfeit cash.

They found marijuana, steroids and other counterfeit cash elsewhere in his home.

Yarand said at the time that he used the fake money for poker games and that the drugs were not his, but belonged to an ex-friend.

Yarand stayed in the neighborhood as his case slowly progressed through the Hillsborough County court system, but eventually sold the home in July 2021 for $620,000 and purchased an $869,000 lakefront home a few miles north. South.

Yarand went to jail three months later.