The owner of a pizza restaurant was arrested for illegally using a PPP loan to purchase an alpaca estate.

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A former Massachusetts pizza parlour owner was arrested for reportedly submitting a false Paycheck Protection Program loan application.

Dana L. McIntyre, 57, was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering after being accused of falsely inflating the size of his restaurant Rast Pasta Pizzeria in Beverly and Essex Mass., in order to obtain a loan of more than $660,000. The Justice Department said Tuesday he used the money to open an alpaca farm in Vermont.

According to the lawsuit, McIntyre claimed in his application that the pizzeria hired almost 50 workers, despite the fact that documents show that the company paying less than 10 staff both before and after the application was filed.

It also claims that after securing the loan, he sold the pizzeria and used almost all of the proceeds to buy a farm in Vermont, multiple alpacas, at least two cars, and weekly airtime for “a cryptocurrency-themed radio show” among other things.

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The Paycheck Protection Program was developed as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, and it originally offered $350 billion in financing for loans to small companies in order to enable them to compensate their workers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funds were soon depleted, forcing Congress to sanction additional funding, and the Justice Department opened an investigation into allegations of bribery last year after major corporations, including restaurant chain Shake Shack and the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, applied for and received permission for the loans.

 

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