Home News Two Columbus Ohio Women Accused of Defrauding COVID-Relief Program

Two Columbus Ohio Women Accused of Defrauding COVID-Relief Program


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Two central Ohio women have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to fraudulently obtaining over $2.8 million in COVID-19 relief funds through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Lorie A. Schaefer, 62, of Westerville, allegedly received nearly $1.9 million by falsely claiming to be affiliated with a local pizza chain – Flying Pizza. The indictment details how Schaefer opened new bank accounts in late 2020 before registering a fictitious business name in March 2021. She then allegedly used this fabricated business to claim affiliation with the established Flying Pizza restaurants in Dayton, Centerville, and Fairborn. When contacted about the nearly $1.9 million PPP loan application filed under their name, representatives from the family-owned Flying Pizza business vehemently denied any justification for such a large loan.

Prosecutors allege Schaefer submitted a fraudulent application claiming 98 employees at her fictitious business and used altered bank records to support her claims. Further discrepancies emerged when Schaefer listed the business as established in 2021, while the actual Flying Pizza has been operating since 1984. Additionally, the indictment highlights that Schaefer falsely stated she wasn’t facing any charges, despite having pending theft charges in Meigs County. A web of fraudulent documents, including bank statements, tax records, and an IRS letter, were allegedly attached to bolster her fabricated application.

Investigators believe Schaefer misused the obtained PPP funds for personal expenses. Examples cited include nearly $26,000 spent on liposuction, a $10,000 “newborn baby gift” check, and over $900,000 used to purchase and renovate a Westerville condominium. Further details from bank records suggest purchases at various retail stores and restaurants, along with potential use of the funds to acquire vehicles in Ohio and property in Australia.

The indictment further alleges that Schaefer assisted co-defendant Latisha C. Holloway, 42, of Reynoldsburg, in fraudulently obtaining over $980,000 in PPP loans. Holloway’s application for her fictitious company, Jaguar Logistics, LLC, claimed 76 employees and a gross income exceeding $4.9 million. Interestingly, Holloway’s application was submitted shortly after Schaefer received her PPP funds. Financial records reportedly show Holloway transferred $180,000 to Schaefer following her own loan approval. Similar to Schaefer, Holloway is accused of attaching fraudulent documents, including bank statements and tax records, to support her loan application.

Adding another layer to the alleged scheme, both women reportedly collected unemployment benefits after receiving the COVID-relief funds.

The indictment goes on to allege that Schaefer used another person’s Social Security number to secure an additional $20,800 in PPP funds for yet another fictitious entity, “LS Associates.”

Both women face two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Wire fraud carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison, while money laundering could result in a 10-year prison term. Schaefer and Holloway were initially charged by criminal complaint in August 2023 and were recently indicted by a federal grand jury.