Mass. sober home operator charged in widespread fraud scheme pleads not guilty

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts man who federal authorities allege engaged in several fraud schemes associated with the sober homes he operated, insulation contractors he owned, and a COVID-19 business relief fund pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Daniel Cleggett, 37, of Kingston, remained free on personal recognizance after an appearance in U.S. District Court in Boston. He was indicted last month on 37 counts, including multiple counts of wire fraud and money laundering.

An email seeking comment was left with his attorney.

Cleggett was the founder of A Vision From God LLC, which operated sober homes in Boston, Wakefield, Quincy and Weymouth, prosecutors said.

Authorities allege that Cleggett and the manager of the homes entered into a conspiracy to overbill a New York-based family trust that was paying for a client’s room and board.

They allegedly overcharged the family trust by up to $12,500 per month by submitting fraudulent invoices, prosecutors said.

They also submitted false documentation when buying three properties from October 2019 to December 2021, saying they were intended to be primary residences when, in reality they were to be used as sober homes, prosecutors said.

Cleggett also operated numerous insulation contracting companies that participated in the Mass Save Program, a partnership between the state and utilities that helps fund energy conservation and improvement projects, prosecutors said.

He fraudulently billed a vendor for permits he did not actually obtain from 2018 through mid-2021, and after he was kicked out of the program he created new companies using the names of others to continue to defraud the program, prosecutors said. That scheme resulted in about $1 million in fraud, prosecutors said.

He also allegedy obtained nearly $800,000 in federal COVID-19 business relief funds in 2020 by lying on his applications, then spent some of the money on personal expenses including vacations to Montana and Aruba, gym memberships, car rentals, and a caviar dinner, prosecutors said.

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