WHEELING, W.Va. — A federal grand jury returned indictments Tuesday alleging fraud against five people in connection with COVID-19 according to the United States Department of Justice.

United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced that charges have been filed against individuals alleged to have improperly benefited from funds appropriated by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as follows:

  • Dalton Haas, 27, Wheeling, W.Va., wire fraud and false statements to SBA
  • James A. Nolte, 51, Bridgeport, W.Va., wire fraud and money laundering
  • Shawn M. Murphy, 47, Moundsville, W.Va., wire fraud
  • David Boyd, 27, Chester, W.Va., wire fraud and false statement to federal agent
  • Jodi Headley, 49, Chester, W.Va., mail fraud.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to combatting pandemic fraud and these charges are just the first of many that we will bring,” said Ihlenfeld. “We have a team of highly skilled prosecutors, investigators and accountants who work on COVID-related cases every day to identify all those who used deception to steal public funds.”

“Those charged today acted out of pure greed,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. “These loans were intended to help business owners struggling from the impact of the pandemic. Instead, the indictments allege these actors saw it as an opportunity to rip off the program. Everyone should know the FBI and our partners will pursue those who defraud programs like PPP and hold them accountable for their crimes.”

Dalton Haas is alleged to have made false representations regarding organizations with which he was affiliated in order to obtain CARES Act funding. Specifically, Haas is charged with making false statements about the gross revenues, the cost of goods sold, and the number of employees for the Lebanese Restaurant & Bakery, the Wheeling Wine Festival, the West Virginia Hockey League, and the Wheeling Hockey Association.

James Nolte is charged with submitting false tax documents, payroll reports, and business records in order to obtain Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The indictment alleges that Nolte improperly secured loans for PGO Veteran Services, PG Health, RJS Catering, and Dental Care Plus, for total fraud in the amount of $645,717.

Shawn Murphy is alleged to have applied for and received unemployment compensation through the CARES Act even though he was still gainfully employed as a machine operator at businesses in Marshall County.

David Boyd is charged with submitting false information in support of his application for PPP funding, including misrepresenting the gross income of a business known as the Seafood Hut. Boyd is also charged with lying to an FBI agent about his loans.

Jodi Headley is alleged to have applied for and receiving unemployment benefits despite being employed by Hancock County schools. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Conklin is prosecuting the cases. The matters were investigated by the FBI and WorkForce West Virginia.

Ihlenfeld encouraged anyone aware of COVID fraud to report it via email to wvfraud@fbi.gov, by telephone to 304-234-0100, or via regular mail to the U.S. Attorney, P.O. Box 591, Wheeling, WV 26003, Attn: COVID Fraud Unit.

All those charged are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.