Pizza parlour owner accused of stealing $600k in Covid relief to spend on alpacas and cryptocurrency radio show

·1 min read
<p>A Vermont man stands accused spending fraudulent coronavirus relief loans on alpacas, among other things.</p> (Getty Images)

A Vermont man stands accused spending fraudulent coronavirus relief loans on alpacas, among other things.

(Getty Images)

A former owner of a Massachusetts pizza place is accused of committing fraud to acquire over $660,000 in coronavirus relief funds and invested a portion in alpacas and cryptocurrencies.

Dana McIntrye, 57, who now lives in Grafton, Vermont, allegedly claimed he had more staff than he did working at his restaurant and received more than he was entitled to. He was arrested on Tuesday and charged with wire fraud and money laundering, according to a US attorney’s Boston office.

“My client denies all the allegations and will have further comment at a later date.” Jason Stelmack, McIntyre’s lawyer said in an email to the AP.

McIntyre, a previous resident of the Massachusetts towns of Beverly and Essex, owned Rasta Pasta Pizzeria in Beverly in April 2020 at the time of the application for a Paycheck Protection Programme, according to the case’s prosecutors.

While applying, he allegedly falsely claimed on a fake tax form that the restaurant had 50 employees when records show that it actually had fewer than 10 members of staff, in an attempt to increase the size of the loan he was entitled to.

When he got the loan, he sold the business and the money was used to buy and improve a farm in Vermont. A part of this was purchasing alpacas, according to authorities. Additionally, he acquired two vehicles and investment in his cryptocurrency themed radio show.

If found guilty of both these charges, he faces up to 40 years in prison and $750,000 fines.