What is it with pizzeria owners and fraud? A few months ago, we reported on a reformed con man pursuing a Michelin star for his pies; now we’ve got a Massachusetts pizza parlor owner who allegedly obtained fraudulent coronavirus relief funds—which he spent on an alpaca farm in Vermont.
The Associated Press reports that Dana McIntyre, 57, was arrested Tuesday and charged with wire fraud and money laundering, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston. As the owner of Rasta Pasta Pizzeria, McIntyre applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan in 2020. He reportedly lied about the number of employees he had at his pizza parlor, claiming the pizza shop had almost 50 employees, when the shop actually had fewer than 10. This allowed him to inflate his PPP loan and fraudulently obtain more than $660,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds.
After receiving the cash, McIntyre sold the pizza shop and used the money to purchase a farm in Vermont, which he stocked with several alpacas. The AP reports that he also bought “at least two vehicles” and “weekly airtime for a cryptocurrency-themed radio show that he hosted.” If McIntyre is convicted of both charges, he faces up to 40 years in prison and $750,000 in fines. He probably deserves it—but what’s to become of the alpacas? If they need a place to stay, I’ve got a third floor walk-up and plenty of chips. Alpacas like chips, right?