- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Prosecutors say a Brooklyn eyeglass merchant applied for more than $3.4 million in fraudulent loans.

The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/1Q2lb0n ) says 43-year-old Maksim Grinberg pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

An indictment says he submitted applications to seven financial institutions seeking loans for medical equipment. But prosecutors say he spent much of the money on his girlfriend, paying rent and trips.

The indictment says Grinberg was helped in the scheme by two co-defendants. Prosecutors say they listed seven people who had worked in Grinberg’s two stores or applied for jobs as the guarantors to the loans.

Authorities say the seven had no idea what was going on.

Defense attorney Todd Spodek says Grinberg has cooperated in the investigation. He says the grand jury witnesses were doctors with an “inherent reason to lie.”

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Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com

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