Huron man charged with over 2.5 million dollars in COVID-19 relief fraud


Date: Feb. 8, 2024


A federal grand jury in Toledo returned an indictment on Feb. 7, 2024, charging Daniel R. Hitlan, of Huron, Ohio, with three counts of bank fraud and five counts of money laundering related to filing false applications for Paycheck Protection Program loans.

The indictment charges that between April 14, 2020 and May 13, 2020, Hitlan submitted three false PPP loan applications and received funding totaling $2,578,318. Hitlan applied for the loans using two businesses that he owned: Sailor Sales, LLC and Daniel Robert Hitlan. Hitlan applied for the loans at three separate banks. In each instance, he falsely stated the number of employees for the businesses and claimed to have payroll expenses when in fact the businesses had no payroll expenses. Hitlan supported the PPP loan applications by creating and submitting fictitious payroll documents and payroll forms with his application.

It is further alleged that Hitlan used the proceeds to conduct several financial transactions to include a check for $88,811.27 for the purchase of a 2020 Cadillac Escalade, another check for $48,232.63 for the purchase of a 1968 Chevrolet Corvette, two wires for the purchase of real estate in the amounts of $179,013.97 and $248,423.89, and a debit card transaction for $20,000 to a jeweler for the purchase of Rolex watches.

An indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum, and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

The investigation was conducted by IRS–Criminal Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gene Crawford.