COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Columbus man is among six people charged in a scheme to obtain $9 million in COVID-19 relief funds.

Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Brennan of Cleveland announced the charges Tuesday out of a federal grand jury hearing. Charles Tiller, 37, of Columbus, has been charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.

The indictment in the case says that, from March 31 to Dec. 17 of last year, the six attempted to obtain economic injury disaster loans and paycheck protection program loans under false pretenses.

It accuses Terrence Pounds, 44, of Holland, Ohio, of recruiting Tiller and the others to give him their personal information so he could apply for the loans, claiming they each operated a nonprofit faith-based organization with $1 million in revenue and 15 employees.

The indictment says at least 60 fraudulent loan applications were submitted. In addition, it says Pounds used the proceeds to purchase four automobiles, including a 2020 BMW X4.

“These six individuals allegedly defrauded United States taxpayers by engaging in this scheme,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith said in a news release. “The CARES Act was designed to help struggling Americans, not for greedy fraudsters to line their pockets.”

The accused were:

  • Tiller
  • Pounds
  • Terri Davis, 30, of Old Hickory, Tennessee
  • Randolph Nunn, 48, of Canton
  • Samira Abdul-Karim, 27, of New Haven, Connecticut
  • Quwan Simmons, 28, of Hartford, Connecticut

All are facing charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Davis and Nunn are also facing charges of money laundering.