Chesterland man jailed and ordered to pay compensation for COVID-19 fraud | USAO-NDOH

Acting U.S. Attorney Michelle M. Baeppler announced that Robert Bearden, 49, of Chesterland, Ohio, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent to one year in prison and ordered to pay 62 $296.70 in restitution after Bearden pleaded guilty to COVID-19 relief fraud.

According to court documents, in July 2020, Bearden devised a scheme to fraudulently obtain approximately $60,000 in Economic Disaster Disaster Loans (EIDLs) from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) under the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) .

As part of the scheme, Bearden submitted three fraudulent EIDL loan applications through the SBA’s online application portal, which were approved for a total of approximately $60,000 in disbursed funds. On applications submitted by Bearden, he used false information about existing and non-existing companies and the names of third parties in exchange for a bribe of a portion of the funds received. Bearden also used the personally identifying information of those interested in obtaining government pandemic assistance to submit loan applications on their behalf, but directing the funds to his own account, including one of three loans. which have been approved.

Acting United States Attorney Michelle M. Baepller, FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith and Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS CI, Cincinnati Field Office made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the IRS – Criminal Investigations. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elliot D. Morrison and Brian M. McDonough.

In May 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize departmental resources in partnership with agencies across government to intensify enforcement and prevention efforts. pandemic-related fraud. The task force strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by increasing and integrating coordination mechanisms existing ones, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their agendas, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information about the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit

Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF online complaint at https://www.

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