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Columbus-area woman accused of misusing nearly $2 million in COVID-relief funds, falsely claiming Dayton-area pizza chain ties

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A Central Ohio woman is accused of using a local pizza chain to fraudulently get almost two million dollars in COVID relief funds.

A Columbus-area woman has been accused of misusing millions in COVID-relief funds and claiming to be connected to a local pizza company.

The U.S. Justice Department says Lorie Schaefer of Westerville, Ohio allegedly received almost $2 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

It is alleged that Schaefer fraudulently claimed affiliation with the Flying Pizza restaurants in Dayton, Centerville and Fairborn. Individuals at the family-owned business said their restaurants could not justify such a large loan when they were told of the $1.9 million request.

Bank records show Schaefer used the COVID-relief funds for renovating a condominium and purchasing property in Australia. Schaefer also allegedly made purchases at Wayfair, Lamps Plus, Kroger, KFC, Burger King, Arby’s, McDonald’s and Olive Garden. Evidence also suggests Schaefer used the fraud proceeds to purchase vehicles in Ohio for her personal use.

Schaefer claimed to have 98 employees and allegedly submitted altered bank records as part of her application. Schaefer also claimed the business was established in March 2021, even though the original Flying Pizza was established in 1984.

Additionally, she claimed not to be under indictment despite having pending theft charges in Meigs County. Schaefer allegedly attached multiple fraudulent documents to her PPP application, including a bank statement, tax records, and a letter from the IRS.

She was arrested on federal charges last week.

A chance meeting with a volunteer in a college computer lab in 1987 brought Mike to WYSO. He started filling in for various music shows, and performed various production, news, and on-air activities during the late 1980s and 90s, spinning vinyl and cutting tape before the digital evolution.