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Geauga County man indicted by federal grand jury for COVID-19 relief fraud

Geauga County
Posted at 12:33 PM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 12:33:08-04

CHESTERLAND, Ohio — A federal grand jury has indicted a Geauga County man accused of COVID-19 relief fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Robert Bearden, 49, of Chesterland, has been indicted on three counts of wire fraud and one count of theft of government funds.

Bearden allegedly submitted Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) applications through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s online application portal that contained false information about existing and non-existing businesses.

According to federal prosecutors, he also submitted a fraudulent EIDL application in the name of third parties in return for a kickback portion of the funds received. Bearden is accused of using the personal identifying information of persons interested in obtaining government pandemic assistance to submit loan applications on their behalf that ultimately went into his bank accounts, according to the news release.

The indictment referred to by authorities in the news release said Bearden applied for three fraudulent loans for approximately $60,000 in July 2020.

In one case, he allegedly received a $34,800 loan for another third party in exchange for a $6,000 kickback.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elliot Morrison and Brian M. McDonough.

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