Andover man who fraudulently filed for COVID relief funds, faked suicide, sent to federal prison

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Oct. 13—PROVIDENCE, R.I. — An Andover man who fraudulently sought COVID-19 relief money from the government and then tried to fake his own death was sentenced to more than four years in federal prison this week, authorities said.

David Adler Staveley, also known as Kurt Sanborn, 54, was sentenced to 56 months in prison followed by three years probation, said Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus, in a statement.

Staveley became known as the first person in the country charged with fraudulently seeking forgivable pandemic relief small business loans from the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

He then "faked suicide" shortly after his arrest resulting in a nationwide search for him by U.S. Marshals, according to the statement.

Staveley conspired with David Andrew Butziger, 53, of Warwick, Rhode Island, to file four fraudulent CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loan applications with a Rhode Island bank, falsely claiming they owned businesses with large monthly payrolls, authorities said.

According to the statement, 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, Rhode Island; $144,050 at Remington House Inn restaurant in Warwick, Rhode Island; $108,777 at On The Trax restaurant in Berlin, Massachusetts; and $105,381 to pay employees at Dock Wireless, an unincorporated business.

Staveley had no ownership interest in Top of the Bay, Remington House Inn, or On The Trax which were closed at the time the loan applications were submitted and remain closed. Dock Wireless had no employees and no wages were ever paid by the business, authorities said.

Three weeks after being charged and appearing in U.S. District Court in May 2020, and released to home detention with electronic monitoring, Staveley removed his electronic monitoring device, staged his own suicide, and fled. Staveley left suicide notes with associates and left his wallet in his unlocked car that he parked along the ocean in Massachusetts, according to the statement.

Further investigation revealed between May 26 and July 23, 2020, Staveley, who was to have appeared in federal court on June 2, 2020, traveled to various states using false identities and stolen license plates. He was apprehended by the United States Marshals Service in Alpharetta, Georgia, on July 23, 2020.

Butziger is scheduled to be sentenced on November 1, 2021.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee H. Vilker.

The matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

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