The Justice Department announced Tuesday that a pizza parlor owner in Massachusetts was arrested and charged with obtaining a fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan for his restaurant before selling the business and the loan and subsequent proceeds to purchase an alpaca farm used in Vermont.
A press release from the department said that 57-year-old Dana McIntyre was accused of transfer fraud and money laundering once. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for each charge.
“In the application, McIntyre allegedly inflated information about the pizzeria ‘s employees and payrolls and forged an official tax form to qualify the company for a larger loan amount,” the press release said.
The complaint also alleges that after receiving a PPP loan of over $ 660,000, McIntyre sold the pizzeria and used almost all of the funds for personal expenses, including the purchase and modernization of a farm in Vermont and the purchase of several alpacas “, It continues.
McIntyre used other funds from the company’s loan and sale to buy airtime to host a weekly radio show that focused on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the Justice Department claimed.
Congress passed the PPP under the 2020 CARES Act, a COVID-19 relief package that provided a first round of economic incentives as the country faced lockdowns to prevent the virus from spreading.
Since then, the authorities have been fighting against fraud related to loans granted under the program.
In Florida, a man pleaded guilty in February of fraudulently obtaining approximately $ 4 million in PPP loans and using it for personal expenses including the purchase of a Lamborghini sports car.