Akron man charged with buying house and Tesla with drug trafficking proceeds and defrauding SBA


Date: August 3, 2022

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

An Akron man was arrested today and charged in a 26-count indictment with using proceeds obtained from the sale of controlled substances and a wire fraud scheme to purchase a residence in Akron and a Tesla vehicle on separate occasions.

Nicholas R. Crawford, of Akron, Ohio, was charged with 23 counts of money laundering, one count of wire fraud, one count of theft of government funds and one count of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

According to the indictment, in June 2018, it is alleged that the defendant purchased a home for $325,000 in Akron, Ohio, using funds that contained proceeds derived from drug trafficking. The indictment states that the defendant knew the proceeds involved were obtained through unlawful means and initiated wire and electronic transfers with the intent to conceal the nature of the drug trafficking funds.

Additionally, the indictment alleges that in July 2020, the defendant defrauded the Small Business Administration (SBA) by submitting a fraudulent COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application with fictitious information in order to receive relief funding to which he was not entitled. It is alleged that the defendant intentionally misrepresented personal and financial information in order to obtain an SBA EIDL loan. The indictment states that the defendant then used $105,500 in SBA EIDL loan funding for personal expenses despite certifying that the loan proceeds would only be used for designated business expenses.

In December 2020, court records state that the defendant purchased a 2020 Tesla Model X, using proceeds from the EIDL loan and from the sale of controlled substances.

Crawford is scheduled to be arraigned today before of Judge Donald C. Nugent in Cleveland.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The 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 a review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant's prior criminal record, if any, the defendant's role in the offenses and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum; in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

This case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigations (CI), FBI, and Akron Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Damoun Delaviz.