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.