A former pizzeria owner on the North Shore of Massachusetts who used coronavirus pandemic relief funds on an alpaca farm and a cryptocurrency-themed radio show pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud and money laundering charges this week, prosecutors said.
Dana L. McIntyre, the 59-year-old former owner of Rasta Pasta Pizzeria in Beverly, admitted in federal court Thursday to filing fraudulent applications for more than $660,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans and using the PPP funds for personal expenses, including the purchase of an alpaca farm in Vermont and a cryptocurrency-themed radio show he made, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins’s office.
He was arrested, charged and later indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2021 after using the names of his adult children in March 2020 to submit two fraudulent applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration for Economic Injury Disaster Loans for fictitious businesses, the statement said.
Starting in April 2020, McIntyre submitted an application and weekly certifications to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits. In his filings, he falsely claimed he was not working or making money because of the pandemic even though he was still running his pizzeria and paying himself an income from the restaurant. By September 2020, when McIntyre sold the restaurant, he had received more than $17,000 in PUA and related benefits he was not entitled to get, according to the statement.
In April 2020, McIntyre fraudulently applied for a PPP loan of more than $660,000 through an SBA-approved lender. In McIntyre’s application, he inflated information about the pizzeria’s employees and payroll expenses and falsified an official tax form to qualify the business for a bigger loan, federal authorities noted.
“After receiving a PPP loan of over $660,000, McIntyre sold the pizzeria and used nearly all the funds to purchase and improve an alpaca farm in Vermont and on other personal expenses, including two vehicles and air time for his crypto-currency themed radio show,” Rollins’s office said.
McIntyre, who lives in Grafton, Vermont but was previously a resident of Beverly and Essex, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering. She is scheduled to be sentenced July 12, according to prosecutors.