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First Pandemic Loan Scammer Sent To Federal Prison After Faking Suicide









A Massachusetts man was remanded to federal prison after being charged with fraudulently obtaining Pandemic Paycheck Protection (PPP) loans in the amount of $543,000 and then faking his suicide to evade arrest, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

David Adler Staveley, 54, of Andover, Massachusetts was the first person in the U.S. charged with pandemic business loan fraud and was sentenced to four years in federal prison after faking his own death to sidestep authorities.

See also: Hundreds Of PPP Loan Fraud Probes Have Been Opened

Staveley and his co-conspirator David Andrew Butziger, 53, of Warwick, Rhode Island, allegedly applied for COVID-19 relief funds under the false claims they were the owners of four businesses, including three restaurants, all of which they said had had “large monthly payrolls.”

“Staveley admitted that as part of the scheme, on April 6, 2020, he and Butziger filed fraudulent loan applications seeking $185,570 to pay employees at Top of the Bay restaurant in Warwick, RI; $144,050 at Remington House Inn restaurant in Warwick, RI; $108,777 at On The Trax restaurant in Berlin, MA; and $105,381 to pay employees at Dock Wireless, an unincorporated business,” according to the report.

Read more: FinTechs Face PPP Loan Probe

The scam was discovered by police in Berlin, Massachusetts who were tipped off by an unnamed informant that had access to the suspects’ email accounts that specifically mentioned PPP loan applications.

Federal investigators, along with the FBI, interviewed four people Butziger claimed worked full-time at Dock Wireless. While they personally knew him, none worked for the company, according to the statement.

Staveley was charged after appearing in U.S. District Court in May 2020 and sent home with an electronic monitoring device, which he removed, staged his suicide, and then left the area. He had been scheduled to appear in federal court on June 2, 2020. He was ultimately apprehended in Alpharetta, Georgia on July 23, 2020 after reportedly traveling across various states under false identities and stolen license plates.

After appearing on Thursday (Oct. 7) before U.S. District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy, Staveley was sentenced to 56 months in federal prison with three years of federal supervised release. Butziger is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 1.





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