Beverly pizzeria owner charged with using federal payroll grant to start a new life as a gentleman alpaca farmer in Vermont
The former owner of a Beverly pizza place was arrested today on federal charges that he fraudulently obtained several hundred thousand dollars in federal funds meant to keep workers he didn't actually have working through the pandemic - and used much of the money to start an alpaca ranch in Vermont.
Dana McIntyre, 57, owner of Rasta Pasta until he sold it last August, faces arraignment on charges of wire fraud and money laundering for the $661,615 in Payroll Protection Program funds he obtained last year, based on an application in which he stated he had 47 employees and a monthly payroll of $265,000 at Rasta Pizza. In fact, he may have as few as three to six employees, with a monthly payroll typically well under $10,000, according to an affidavit by an FBI agent on the case.
The agent had to use McIntyre's 2018 tax filings since he did not file taxes at all, either for himself or his company, for 2019, according to the affidavit, which adds he also did not file any payroll records with the state unemployment program for 2019 or 2020. The affidavit continues that McIntyre cited differing employee counts and payroll sizes on his various applications for federal loans.
According to the affidavit, McIntyre first tried obtaining funds from a different federal program, an emergency small-business fund run by the SBA - using what were fictitious names for companies that did not exist, allegedly run by his children. One of the companies, "Dana's Dank Pies," was actually a name of one of the pizzas he offered in Beverly.
After winning the large PPP loan in May - which could have been converted into a grant had he used the money for supporting his pizza place's payroll - McIntyre moved to Essex, VT and had much of the money wired to a bank in Vermont, from which he then withdrew funds to buy a farm in Grafton, VT, for $395,000. He then stocked the farm with alpacas for which he paid almost $10,000, as well as spending, $7,800 to buy fencing for them and $16,555 for storage sheds, according to the affidavit. He also paid $14,000 for a 2007 GMC Sierra and $8,500 for a 1950 Hudson.
Once the farm was outfitted and operational, McIntyre sold Rasta Pasta in Beverly in August, the affidavit states.
The affidavit continues that McIntyre also used some of the funds to pay a Vermont radio station to air his Saturday-night radio show on cryptocurrency, as well as paying $2,200 to a Massachusetts cosmetics spa and $6,218 for property taxes on the alpaca farm.
The government is seeking to seize the roughly $209,000 it says McIntyre still has in the bank, along with the SUV and the Hudson. The government did not move to take control of the alpacas.
If convicted, McIntyre faces up to 20 years in federal prison, according to the US Attorney's office.
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So, farm for sale then?
I could get into alpaca farming in VT, especially if he throws in the 1950 Hudson.
How on earth do people think they'll pull this kind of stuff off? Just mystifying.
Giving a bad name to The Rastaman
Bob Marley would have been disgusted by this kind of greed. Not a joke.
consider the source..
a middle-aged white man in Massachusetts who thinks he should open a Rastafarian-themed pasta and pizza place.
also, he's got a history of being just.. a really great guy.
But he’s been running a small restaurant, some of it cash business that doesn’t get reported, maybe the ability to run some personal expenses through as legit business expenses. As the years went on, the amount of tax shenanigans was getting bigger and yet, he was never questioned.
So why not take advantage of the utter confusion around the PPP loans and really go for broke (no puns intended)?
Monthly payroll of $250k? Thats $3M per year. 47 staff? Hellva pizza job that pays an average of $64k per year.
One of the hugely
One of the hugely underreported things republican administrations have done through the years is GUTTING the IRS every time they can. And then the Dems don't fix it because "hiring more tax guys" is an unsellable line once it gets in the press. Despite the fact that the IRS is one of the few agencies where they MAKE MONEY for the government for each dollar you give them.
There literally are not enough agents to enforce things. The IRS has admitted they won't even go after wealthy people they know are cheating on taxes because wealthy people will higher lawyers and the time/effort sink to fight lawyers is too much for the agency to handle when they can go after middle class people who will just sigh and pay it. Once you get away with cheating once you figure out how unlikely it is you'll get caught and start doing a lot more of it.
I applied for and got one of those PPP loans (which was then converted into a grant, so I don't have to pay it back), via the same lender as this guy. But I was truthful on my application, got far, far less money than what's alleged here, and never once thought to run off to Vermont to start an alpaca farm.
Well, that's just a lack of
Well, that's just a lack of imagination right there.
Admit it, Adam
You got as far as checking out "Raising Alpacas for Dummies" from the BPL, but got put off when you found out that they don't like to be pet.
I think you're thinking of llamas
Alpacas are the cute little (well, littler) ones.
My wife's cousin actually raises some, out in Oregon.
Quick someone hacked Adam's account....!!
And is impersonating Swirly......!!
Is There Enough Money
To start a turkey farm? In, let's say...maybe, Brookline?
Beat you to it
I already did this a few years back. Free-range turkeys.
Perhaps you've even seen some of my flock, wandering the streets.
Did you count them as employees
on your PPP loan application?
I think if Adam were to count turkeys, T cops, stenographic outputs, helicopters, Storrowings, etc. among his employees, he'd have thousands of us upstanding citizens to vouch for their contributions to his livelihood.
Hey Adam, thanks for sharing
Hey Adam, thanks for sharing this. I think this is fantastic and am glad that a small operation like this one was able to get some support out of this program.
We got two PPP loan/grants at our business and it was a life saver both times. We used that money to, you know, pay people though.
Thank you for not running off
We need you here!
The new Vermont pepperoni
Burying the lede.
I could've saved myself the trouble of trying to figure out what went wrong with ol' Dana McIntyre if you had just included "his Saturday-night radio show on cryptocurrency" right there in the lede without getting into the whole thing.
Which he paid
to have put on the air.
This guy’s been smokin’ too much rasta pasta.
The Vermont part doesn't make sense either. I've been to both Essex and Grafton. They're both nice places, but they're 120+ miles apart. Not what you'd consider a commuting distance, especially in Vermont winters.
Essex is just outside of Burlington.
Grafton is in southern Vermont, near Bellows Falls.
A lot of the property in Grafton is under the control of a nonprofit foundation, which encourages small, sustainable businesses. (That's where Grafton Cheese comes from.) I wonder if this guy tried to scam them as well.
How come the Feds can manage...
...this huge national emergency program, investigate fraud, and bring charges when warranted, while the Commonwealth of Massachusetts still can't resolve pandemic-related unemployment claims, or even schedule hearings, for thousands of claimants who have been waiting for months for some relief? Isn't local government supposed to be more efficient, responsive, and accountable? Or is that just something Republicans like our esteemed governor say to get elected?
That's the difference between
That's the difference between the government getting money it's owed, and giving you money you're owed.
I'd generally agree but...
...to give credit where it's due, both the IRS and the DOR have been very fast in processing my refunds. Then again, that may prove your point, since those agencies are primarily designed to *collect* tax revenues, even though they wind up refunding money to many of us.
That sounds like a pretty
That sounds like a pretty common outcome of this program.
If that's the case
Vermont must be running out of room for alpaca farms.
I'm sure there are a lot of employers' kids
on the payrolls since PPP started.
The fact that murderers, rapists, and chomos get easier sentences is just insane . What an unbelievably dysfunctional system we have.