Man sentenced to 2 years in prison for using fraudulently obtained Covid-relief funds to buy an alpaca farm
· Sep 10, 2023 ·

Former pizzeria owner Dana McIntyre found a clever (albeit illegal way) to dramatically switch industries as COVID-19 threatened the restaurant business.

In 2020, the restaurant owner filed an application for a Paycheck Protection Program loan which falsified information about the business employee and payroll expenses in order to get a larger payout.

He succeeded in obtaining $660,000 in pandemic relief funds.

The AP reported what happened next, saying,

After receiving the loan, McIntyre, formerly of Massachusetts, sold his pizzeria and used nearly all of the money to buy an alpaca farm in Vermont and eight alpacas, the U.S. attorney's office in Boston said. He also paid for two vehicles and weekly airtime for a cryptocurrency-themed radio show that he hosted, prosecutors said.

The lines between smart investment strategy and fraud get so blurry sometimes.

On the one hand, falsifying business records is obviously wrong. On the other hand, not a lot of people have the ingenuity to switch careers from humble restaurant owner to Alpaca-farming-cryptocurrency-radio-host.

What a LinkedIn bio he must have!

Special Agent in Charge at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jodi Cohen, said in a statement,

Dana McIntyre capitalized on a national catastrophe and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from a limited pool of money set aside to help struggling businesses, to buy a farm, stock it with alpacas, and make a fresh start for himself in Vermont.

She has a good point ... but have you seen an alpaca?

In the end, McIntyre pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering. In addition to the two-year prison sentence, he was also ordered to pay the money back.

I hope his investment was profitable because he'll have to sell a lot of alpaca fleece in order to pay $660,000 back.

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