Pizza shop owner accused of using PPP to buy alpaca farm, faces federal fraud charges

A Vermont man is facing federal fraud charges for allegedly filing an illegal application for the Paycheck Protection Program to get loans to buy an alpaca farm and to cover other expenses.

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The United States Attorney’s Office of the District of Massachusetts announced Dana McIntyre of Grafton, Vermont, has been charged with wire fraud and money laundering, Boston25News reported.

Federal officials said in a news release that McIntyre made a fraudulent application for a PPP loan in April 2020.

McIntyre used his former business, Rasta Pasta Pizzeria, and inflated the number of employees at the store. He claimed there were 50 employees but he only employed fewer than 10 employees, either at the time he applied or before the pandemic.

After he got the loan, the Attorney’s Office alleged he sold the pizza shop and used almost all of the $660,000 proceeds to buy and upgrade an alpaca farm in Vermont, as well as purchasing several animals, two vehicles and airtime for a cryptocurrency-themed radio show.

McIntyre faces 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, Boston25News reported.