A North Shore pizzeria owner made quite the life change after fraudulently obtaining more than $660,000 in federal funds intended to help small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Massachusetts U.S. attorney’s office.
After receiving the forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, Dana L. McIntyre sold his eatery — Rasta Pasta Pizzeria in Beverly — and used the money for personal expenses, “including to purchase and upgrade a farm in Vermont as well as to buy several alpacas, at least two vehicles and weekly airtime for a cryptocurrency-themed radio show, among other expenses,” federal authorities said in a release.
Now, McIntyre, 57, of Grafton, Vermont, and previously of Beverly and Essex, Massachusetts, is federally charged with wire fraud and money laundering. He was arrested Tuesday and was scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston in the afternoon.
Here’s how authorities say McIntyre broke the law:
As alleged in the complaint, in April 2020, McIntyre submitted a fraudulent application for a PPP loan of over $660,000 through a Small Business Administration (SBA) approved lender. In the application, McIntyre allegedly inflated information about the pizzeria’s employees and payroll expenses and falsified an official tax form in an effort to qualify the business for a larger loan amount. McIntyre allegedly reported that the pizzeria employed nearly 50 individuals; however, records indicate that the business paid fewer than 10 employees at any time before or after McIntyre submitted the loan application.
In an email to the Associated Press, McIntyre’s attorney said his client denies the accusations.
“My client denies the allegation and will have further comment at a later date,” Jason Stelmack said.
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