Man Caught Using COVID Relief Funds On Shopping Spree That Included Farm, Two Cars And Eight Alpacas

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Matthew Xiao Contributor
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Authorities sentenced a former pizzeria owner to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for submitting fraudulent applications and obtaining over $660,000 from the federal government’s pandemic relief fund. 

Dana L. McIntyre, who pleaded guilty in April to four counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering, has also been ordered to pay nearly $680,000 in restitution, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts.

In March 2020, McIntyre used his grown children’s names to submit two falsified loan applications to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for non-existent businesses, the attorney’s office said. The next month, he started claiming Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits despite continuing to operate and earn income from his restaurant.

McIntyre was also found guilty of submitting a fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan application, where he falsified information including his pizzeria’s payroll expenses and the number of employees working at the restaurant, according to the press release. 

After receiving over $660,000 in PPP funds via a lender, McIntyre sold his restaurant and used almost all of the money for personal expenses, such as a farm in Vermont, two vehicles, eight alpacas and home construction, The New York Times (NYT) reported, citing investigators. He also funded his crypto-currency themed radio show, “The Dana Crypto Show,” according to the outlet. (RELATED: DOJ Announces It’s Charged Over 3,000 People With COVID Relief Fraud)

“This was no momentary lapse in the fog of the pandemic,” acting U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Joshua S. Levy said, according to the NYT. “He stole from the American taxpayers and the many small businesses which truly needed those loans to survive.”

McIntyre is among over 3,100 individuals who have been charged with COVID-19-related fraud so far, the NYT reported.