By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities man is facing federal charges after he allegedly tried to defraud more than $2 million in COVID-19 relief funds before fleeing the country.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Minnesota says 72-year-old Harold Kaeding, of Eden Prairie, is charged with wire fraud and money laundering.

According to court documents, he allegedly applied for at least $2,182,625 through the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program in the name of four Minnesota companies.

These companies filed no tax returns and did not report paying any employee wages in the last two years. Investigators say that Kaeding submitted fake applications to various lenders. These included false statements about employees and payroll expenses, as well as fraudulent statements on how the loans would be used.

Kaeding ended up receiving about $658,000, which he transferred to bank accounts or used to make mortgage payments and wire transfers to family and friends. After, he fled to Columbia.

Last week, Kaeding was deported from South America. Earlier this week, he was arrested in Miami, where he made his first court appearance Wednesday before a Florida judge.