An Eden Prairie man has been arrested and charged in federal court with fraudulently applying for more than $2.1 million in COVID-19 relief funds.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Minnesota, Harold Bennie Kaeding, 72, applied for the loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program between April and December 2020.
Court documents state that Kaeding used close family members’ names to submit the loan applications in the name of four Minnesota entities: Harbor Holdings Corp; Harbor Corp; AutoPay Inc.; and Voyager Shipping Company.
These entities filed no tax returns, nor did they report the payment of wages to a single employee for 2019 and 2020.
Kaeding reportedly submitted false and fraudulent applications to various lenders that included fabricated supporting records, false statements about the number of employees and the amount of payroll expenses, and false statements about the intended use of the loan proceeds.
He reportedly received about $658,490 in fraud proceeds, which he transferred to bank accounts he controlled for personal use, including home mortgage payments and wire transfers to family and friends. He then fled to Colombia in an apparent attempt to evade prosecution.
Kaeding is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. He was deported from Colombia on Nov. 12 and arrested on Nov. 14 in Miami.
He made his initial appearance on Nov. 17 before Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida.
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