US man uses fraudulent Covid-19 relief loan to buy alpaca farm
Restaurant owner lied about number of employees to receive $660,000 in federal funds
The owner of a US pizza parlour lied about the number of staff he had to obtain more than $660,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds, then used some of the money to buy and stock an alpaca farm, federal prosecutors said.
Dana McIntyre, 57, of Grafton, Vermont, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with wire fraud and money laundering, according to a statement from the US attorney’s office in Boston.
He was scheduled to appear remotely in US District Court in Boston later that day.
“My client denies the allegation and will have further comment at a later date,” said Mr McIntyre’s lawyer, Jason Stelmack.
Mr McIntyre, who formerly lived in Beverly and Essex, both in Massachusetts, was the owner of Rasta Pasta Pizzeria in Beverly in April 2020 when he applied for a Paycheque Protection Programme loan, prosecutors said.
But in his application, he falsified an official tax form and claimed the pizza shop had almost 50 employees – when records indicate it had fewer than 10 – to inflate the size of the loan he was entitled to, authorities said.
After receiving the loan, he sold the pizza shop and used the money to buy and upgrade a farm in Vermont and buy several alpacas, authorities said.
He also bought at least two vehicles – including a 1950 Hudson – and weekly airtime for a cryptocurrency-themed radio show that he hosted, prosecutors said.
If convicted of both charges, he faces up to 40 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.
Updated: May 7, 2021 01:47 PM