Skip to main content
Press Release

Catawba Co. Man Is Sentenced For Bank Robbery, COVID-19 Fraud, And Aggravated Identity Theft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –Spenc’r Denard Rickerson, 36, of Claremont, N.C., was sentenced today to six years in prison followed by two years of supervised release for committing bank robbery, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Rickerson was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $87,583.

Robert M. DeWitt, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in North Carolina joins U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

According to court documents and evidence presented at Rickerson’s trial, between June 30, 2020, and March 20, 2021, Rickerson used false information to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and multiple Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Trial evidence established that, in order to obtain the PPP loan, Rickerson submitted a fraudulent application for a non-existent company that contained a number of false information, including the purpose of the loan and the company’s payroll costs. Rickerson also submitted fraudulent applications for several loans under the EIDL program, in which he provided fake information about the number of company employees and gross revenues. As a result of the fraudulent PPP and EIDL loan applications, Rickerson received more than $84,233 in fraudulent funds intended to assist businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Court documents show that, in addition to the fraudulent loan scheme, on March 18, 2021, Rickerson committed an armed robbery of a BB&T branch located at 12 North Main Avenue, in Newton, N.C. Rickerson used the stolen funds from the fraudulent loan scheme and the bank robbery to pay bills and to buy cryptocurrency.

Rickerson is in federal custody. He will be transferred to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.

The FBI investigated the case with the assistance of the Newton Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny G. Sugar of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte handled the prosecution.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866‑720‑5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at

Updated August 1, 2023

Violent Crime