The former head of fiscal services for the Baltimore Police Department, who was fired in April after officials realized he was a person of interest in a homicide investigation, has been federally indicted for wire fraud and money laundering related to COVID relief loans.
Dana Hayes, 37, was arrested Wednesday night after a federal grand jury handed up the indictment last week. In addition to COVID relief fraud, Hayes is also charged with stealing the identity of a tax preparer.
Hayes incorporated an investment company in 2015 that never employed anyone, the indictment says. But from June 2020 through March 2021, Hayes sought COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans, saying he had multiple employees and tens of thousands of dollars a month in expenses, prosecutors say.
He was eventually given a $15,000 grant, which was immediately transferred from the company account to his personal savings account, the indictment charges. He also allegedly forged an IRS form claiming he’d paid $60,000 in wages in 2019 and received $35,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, prosecutors say.
Hayes received attention this spring when he was fired after less than two weeks of employment as chief of fiscal services for the Baltimore Police Department. He had bumped into a homicide detective in the headquarters elevator — the same detective who for a year had been pursuing Hayes as a suspect in the killing of Hayes’ stepfather.
Hayes told The Baltimore Sun that the lead homicide detective told him: “You’re going to fall sooner or later.”
In addition to being a person of interest in the killing, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said Hayes had a prior gun charge and was on the city’s gun offender registry. Hayes said he was given probation before judgment in the gun case, which was expunged after he completed probation. He said he Harrison should not have discussed it publicly.
In addition to allegedly misrepresenting the number of his company’s employees to qualify for COVID relief funds, Hayes also lied on related forms about being on probation and said he had never been convicted or placed on parole or probation.
Mayor Brandon Scott ordered a comprehensive review of the civilian hiring process for the Police Department, calling it a “systems failure.” He asked the chief human capital officer, Quinton Herbert, to also submit recommendations to improve policies and procedures.
Jack French, a spokesman for Scott, said the review has been completed and the Police Department was reviewing the findings and preparing a response.
Prior to his brief employment at the Police Department, Hayes worked for two years as a bookkeeper at the nonprofit Strong City, which became embroiled in controversy after grassroots groups that entrusted its money to the organization said their finances were in disarray due to mismanagement. After the controversy surfaced, however, Hayes was recognized by the group with an employee appreciation award in its monthly newsletter.
“Strong City not only has molded me into an elite Accountant, but has inspired me to become a community activist, a stronger person, and most importantly a better father/son/grandson,” Hayes said in the newsletter.
This article has been updated with additional details from the indictment.