Former North Shore resident arrested for allegedly committing COVID-relief fraud

BOSTON — A 57-year-old former North Shore resident was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly filing a fraudulent loan application of over $660,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loan funds to use for personal expenses, such as buying an alpaca farm in Vermont.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts released a report saying that Dana L. McIntyre, of Grafton, V.T., and previous resident of Beverly and Essex, is facing charges in a criminal complaint with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

McIntyre is a former owner of Rasta Pasta Pizzeria in Beverly, and in April 2020, he submitted a fraudulent application for a PPP loan through a Small Business Administration-approved lender.

In the application, the suspect allegedly inflated information about the pizzeria’s employees, payroll expenses and falsified an official tax form to qualify the business for a larger loan amount. The falsified reported said there were nearly 50 pizzeria employees, but the business had less than 10 employees at any time before or after McIntyre submitted the loan application.

Officials added that after receiving the PPP loan, McIntyre then sold the pizzeria and used nearly all the funds for personal expenses. These expenses included purchasing and upgrading an alpaca farm in Vermont. He allegedly bought several alpacas, two vehicles, and weekly airtime for a cryptocurrency-themed radio show.

The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the scheme, whichever is greater.

McIntyre will make a virtual initial appearance in federal court in Boston Tuesday afternoon, May 4.

If anyone knows of information involving allegations of attempted fraud of COVID-19 loan funds, they can report to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline by calling (866) 720-5721 or filling out an online reporting form.

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