Read the reviews on Yelp for Rasta Pasta Pizzeria and you think maybe the owner, Dana McIntyre, should change business. “Pretty disappointed.” “Crust was tough.” “Pedestrian at best.” Not good for generating new business! But McIntyre was changing her business anyway and planning to use COVID-19 funds to do it.
Starting in April 2020, McIntyre submitted applications 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 from the restaurant. Proof that he was still running the business? During that same time, McIntyre applied for a PPP loan 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.
If the bank or the Mass Department of Unemployment Assistance had read more of the Yelp reviews, they could have seen McIntrye for the fraud that he was. “To the owner of Rasta Pasta Pizzeria. You’re ridiculous. You spend more time selling your lousy crypto currency then you do making sure your food is any good.” McIntyres’ application for PPP loans should have been denied. Instead, when he received over $660,000 in fraudulent proceeds, McIntyre sold the pizzeria and used the funds towards airtime for his crypto-currency themed radio show and the rest to purchase an alpaca farm. Noon on an alpaca farm can write bad reviews on Yelp!
On April 15, 2023, McIntyre pleaded guilty not only to the COVID-19 PPP and Unemployment fraud but stealing his adult children’s identity for two of the PPP applications.
Great job by the COVID-19 Fraud Strike team in this investigation.
Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on article “North Shore pizzeria owner used PPP loans to buy alpaca farm, admits to fraud” published by Mass Live on April 15, 2023
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.