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Man used PPP loan to start alpaca farm in Vermont, authorities allege

  • While their thick coats are perfect for winter warmth, alpacas sometimes need a little help keeping cool in the summer. Brian Mattei, co-owner of Living the Dream Alpaca Farm, provides a quick cool-off to one of the six alpacas living in Quechee, Vt., on July 12, 2016. (Valley News- Sarah Priestap) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Published: 5/4/2021 6:01:32 PM
Modified: 5/4/2021 9:02:59 PM

Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses keep their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, but federal authorities allege a Massachusetts business owner fraudulently used the money to start an alpaca farm.

Dana L. McIntyre, 57, now of Grafton, Vt., was arrested Tuesday on charges of filing a fraudulent application to receive a loan worth more than $660,000. McIntyre previously lived in Beverly and Essex, Mass., authorities said.

He is being charged with wire fraud and money laundering, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.

According to the complaint, McIntyre sold the Rasta Pasta Pizzeria in Beverly, Mass., after receiving the loan. McIntyre then used the money to buy the farm, several alpacas, at least two vehicles and airtime for a radio show focused on cryptocurrency, authorities allege.

McIntyre allegedly misrepresented the pizzeria in the loan application, filed in April 2020, so he could receive more money from the loan program. He claimed the pizzeria employed nearly 50 people, although records indicate it had fewer than 10 employees, and allegedly falsified an official tax form.

About 12,000 borrowers in Vermont took advantage of the federal PPP loan program. About 10,000 of those loans were for sums less than $150,000. Last May, some Vermont restaurateurs expressed concern that they would not be able to reopen in time to be forgiven for the loan.

McIntyre was scheduled to appear virtually in federal court in Boston on Tuesday afternoon. He faces up to 40 years in prison and $750,000 in fines if convicted of both charges.

The case was investigated by the FBI, Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.




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