State And Regional

2 Ohio women allegedly accused of receiving over $2 million in Covid-19 relief fraud

COLUMBUS — Two Ohio women have been charged with federal crimes related to receiving over $2 million in COVID-19 relief funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

>>RELATED: 3 facing federal charges after search of Dayton address yields fentanyl, meth, crack

Lorie A. Schaefer, 62, of Westerville, allegedly received nearly $1.9 million by fraudulently claiming an affiliation with an Ohio pizza company, a Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson said.

She opened new bank accounts in December 2020 prior to registering a fictitious business with the State of Ohio in March 2021, according to court documents.

Schaeffer is alleged to fraudulently claimed affiliation with Flying Pizza restaurants in Dayton, Centerville, and Fairborn. She also claimed to have 98 employees, allegedly submitted altered bank records as part of her application, and said her business was established in March 2021 when the original Flying Pizza was established in 1984, the spokesperson said.

“As Attorney General Merrick Garland recently made clear, while the COVID-19 public health emergency may have ended, our work to identify and hold accountable those who stole pandemic relief funds is far from over,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “Working alongside our law enforcement partners, we will continue to prosecute the individuals who engaged in these illegal activities.”

>>Justice Department announces charges against hundreds of alleged COVID-19 fraudsters

Schaeffer allegedly assisted co-defendant Latisha Holloway, 42, of Reynoldsburg, in fraudulently receiving more than $980,000 in PPP loans.

Holloway supposedly claimed to own a business, Jaguar Logistics, LLC, and she stated on loan application documents that she had 76 employees and a total gross income of almost $5 million.

She similarly attached fraudulent documents to her PPP loan, including a bank statement and tax records, according to court documents.

Schaeffer is also alleged to have used another person’s Social Security Number to apply for and receive an additional $20,000 in PPP loans.

She was arrested on August 25 while Holloway was arrested Wednesday.

No court date has yet been announced.

Comments on this article