A Dayton man is among four area people who have been charged federally with defrauding COVID-19 pandemic relief funding programs.
In separate cases, all four are alleged to have lied about owning businesses and employing others. Some of the defendants applied multiple times, and some spent the funds on lavish personal items and vacation travel, according to a release from Acting U.S. Attorney Vipal Patel of the Southern District of Ohio.
Jon Alan Bader, 50, of Dayton, received more than $120,000 after allegedly lying on applications. He registered the business JB Auto Wholesale LLC with the state of Ohio through LegalZoom in June 2020 after the cutoff eligibility date for the loans. An affidavit states that Bader spent the relief money on various food deliveries through Door Dash, transportation from Uber and purchases that appear to be for travel in Indiana, Kentucky and Florida. He also allegedly made purchases at retail stores including Puma, Lacoste and Saks, and paid for travel in Sarasota, Fla. Bank records show Bader was spending between $55,000 and $67,000 in the summer of 2020, according to the criminal complaint.
Bader is charged with bank fraud, committing fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits, wire fraud, making false statements and making false statements in connection to credit or loan applications.
Patel previously told the Dayton Daily News that prosecuting cases in which suspects defraud taxpayer-funded coronavirus relief programs for their personal gain will be a top priority.
The other three charged are:
–Melissa McGhee, 37, of Cincinnati. She was arrested Monday night by Sycamore Twp. police. McGhee, also known as Melissa Batton, is accused of lying on a Federal Housing Authority loan for a new home. Through this investigation, agents discovered McGhee had allegedly applied for seven different pandemic relief loans and received three.
Court documents reveal that McGhee used the business names M&MM Realty Group and M&M Realty Group to submit the fraudulent applications. She received $186,000 in relief funds, which she used in part to purchase real estate, according to the Department of Justice.
McGhee is charged with bank fraud, committing fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits, wire fraud, making false statements and making false statements in connection to credit or loan applications.
–Kelli Prather, 48 of Cincinnati. She appeared Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Cincinnati. According to court documents, Prather applied for six Paycheck Protection Program loans as part of the CARES Act pandemic relief.
She claimed to be the owner of six businesses — Enhanced Healthcare Solutions, Life Skills Enhancement, Prather Property Management, Reliable Ambulette Services, Rich Glo Management Services and Tots R Us. It is alleged that a bank discovered errors with Prather’s loan applications and also identified that there were six different, pending applications. Prather sought more than $600,000 in fraud relief and fraudulently received approximately $19,800, according to the criminal complaint.
Prather, a former Cincinnati mayoral candidate, is charged with bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, making false statements, making false statements in connection to credit or loan applications and false representation of a Social Security number.
–Toni Wright, 34, of Cincinnati. She reportedly received $349,000 in fraudulent PPP relief loans. Court documents say she made false statements as the owner of purported businesses Poshedbar hair and nail salon, Beautiful Beginnings Doula Service and Jerry’s Electronics. Wright allegedly used the same Employer Identification Number for more than one of the purported businesses and listed residential addresses as the business locations. She submitted numerous applications despite being initially denied, Wright used the PPP funds for personal purchases, such as food through Door Dash, at retail stores including Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Kay Jewelers and vacation activities such as King’s Island, Luxury Rentals Miami and American Airlines. She also spent more than $10,000 of relief funds at Sono Bello, a facility that advertises laser liposuction and body contouring, according to the criminal complaint.
Wright is charged with bank fraud, committing fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits, wire fraud, making false statements, making false statements in connection to credit or loan applications and false representation of a Social Security number.
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