CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – A Claremont man is accused of committing COVID-19 relief fraud and robbing a bank in Newton before using the money to pay bills and buy cryptocurrency, according to U.S. Attorney Dena King.

A federal grand jury indicted 35-year-old Spenc’r Denard Rickerson, charging him with wire fraud and bank robbery offenses.

According to the allegations in the indictment, Rickerson used false information to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan and multiple Economic Injury Disaster Loans between June 30, 2020, and March 20, 2021.

The indictment accused Rickerson of submitting a fraudulent PPP loan application for a non-existent company that reportedly contained several falsehoods, including the purpose of the loan and the company’s payroll costs.

The indictment also said he submitted applications for several loans under the EIDL program in which he allegedly provided fake information about the number of company employees and gross revenues.

Rickerson reportedly received over $74,200 in fraudulent funds intended to assist businesses impacted by the pandemic, according to the Department of Justice.

Rickerson was also indicted on charges related to an armed robbery at a bank in Newson on March 18, 2021.

According to the indictment, Rickerson robbed the BB&T Bank on North Main Avenue.

The Newton Police Department said the man entered the bank, gave the teller a black bag and demanded money. He also showed her a firearm, authorities said.

He’s accused of using the stolen funds from the loan scheme and the bank robbery to pay bills and to buy cryptocurrency, the DOJ said.

Rickerson was arrested Monday and remains in federal prison, officials said.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for his wire fraud charge. The maximum penalty for the bank robbery offense is 25 years and a $250,000 fine.

To report suspected COVID-19 fraud, the Department of Justice said to contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 866-720-5721 or online.