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An Eden Prairie man has been charged with fraud and money laundering after he applied for more than $2 million in COVID relief payments.

The U.S. Attorney for Minnesota announced Wednesday charges against Harold Bennie Kaeding, who applied for just under $2.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program payments between April and December 2020.

Per a news release, Kaeding allegedly used the name of close family members to submit the loan applications on behalf of four Minnesota companies: Harbor Holdings Corporation; Harbor Corp; AutoPay Inc.; and Voyager Shipping Company.

All four of these entities, authorities say, failed to file any tax returns and didn't report wages paid to a single employee in the years 2019 and 2022.

Kaeding, the charges allege, "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."

While he didn't receive all the money he fraudulently applied for, he did receive $658,490 of it, which he transferred to bank accounts he controlled and some of which he used for mortgage payments and wire transfers to family and friends.

He then fled to Colombia "in an apparent attempt to evade prosecution," but was deported on Nov. 12, and arrested in Miami two days later.

He has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

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