CLEVELAND (AP) — Federal authorities have alleged that six people conspired to create dozens of phony businesses, including non-existent farms in Ohio, to collect $7.4 million in pandemic relief loans.
The alleged conspiracy was revealed in an affidavit unsealed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland on Tuesday.
Court records show Aydin Kalantarov, 36, and Gunay Kalantarov, 33, both of California, were arrested Jan. 25 and charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Records do not indicate whether they have attorneys to speak for them, and it wasn't clear if they are related.
According to the affidavit written by a special agent for the U.S. Treasury Department four other people have been identified as participants in the scheme. Daniel Ball, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said charges against the others are “forthcoming.”
Investigators identified 64 businesses created by the group and 53 loan payments deposited into bank accounts.
Some of the fake Ohio farm names they used included Organic Ohio Berries, Ohio Almonds and Peanuts, Ohio Red Wiggler Worms, and Agricultural Worms and Fertilizers, the affidavit said.