35-year old Spenc’r Denard Rickerson of Claremont was found guilty on charges of bank robbery, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina Dena J. King said in a news release.
Rickerson could face up to 47 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. A sentencing date has not been set, King said.
Between June 30, 2020, and March 20, 2021, Rickerson used false information to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan and multiple Economic Injury Disaster Loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to court documents.
Rickerson also submitted fraudulent applications for several loans under the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program, in which he provided fake information about the number of company employees and gross revenue.
As a result of the fraudulent applications, Rickerson received more than $84,233 in fraudulent funds intended to assist businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, King said. In addition to the fraudulent loan scheme, on March 18, 2021, Rickerson committed an armed robbery of a BB&T bank, now called Truist, located at 12 N. Main Ave., in Newton. Rickerson used the stolen funds from the fraudulent loan scheme and the bank robbery to pay bills and to buy cryptocurrency.
Rickerson remains free on bond. The maximum statutory penalty for the bank robbery is 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory two-year prison term consecutive to any other prison term imposed