Man accused of buying $700k boat with coronavirus relief funds

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Casey David Crowther, 35, is facing up to 30 years in federal prison for allegedly using coronavirus relief funds to buy a $700,000 40-foot boat

Casey David Crowther, 35, is facing up to 30 years in federal prison for allegedly using coronavirus relief funds to buy a $700,000 40-foot boat

A Florida roofer, 35, is facing up to 30 years in federal prison for allegedly using coronavirus relief funds to buy a $700,000 40-foot boat.

Casey David Crowther, of North Fort Myers, was arrested and charged with making  false and misleading statements to a lending institution on behalf of his company, Target Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc., according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday. 

Crowther applied for and received over $2 million from the Payroll Protection Program which was set up by the federal government to help small businesses keep paying their workers and bills during the pandemic. 

Within days of receiving the funds, the businessman allegedly blew $689,417 on a 40-foot catamaran which he registered in his name. 

US Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez on Wednesday announced the charges against Crowther for submitting a loan application that included false and misleading statements concerning what the PPP funds would be used for.

The application – submitted on or around April 13 – claimed the money would only be used for business purposes, to  retain workers, maintain payroll or make mortgage payments, lease payments, and utilities payments, the complaint states.

A total of $2,098,700 in PPP funds was approved and deposited into Crowther’s business checking account on April 14, the complaint says. 

The account was allegedly only opened on or around April 10 – just three days before the application was made – and the only money deposited into it was the coronavirus relief funds.  

The Florida roofer (pictured) was arrested and charged with making false and misleading statements to a lending institution on behalf of his company, Target Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc., according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday

The Florida roofer (pictured) was arrested and charged with making false and misleading statements to a lending institution on behalf of his company, Target Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc., according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday 

Crowther applied for and received over $2 million from the Payroll Protection Program which was set up by the federal government to help small businesses keep paying their workers and bills during the pandemic. Pictured his business that he applied for the loan for

Crowther applied for and received over $2 million from the Payroll Protection Program which was set up by the federal government to help small businesses keep paying their workers and bills during the pandemic. Pictured his business that he applied for the loan for 

The criminal complaint says $126,000 of the money was first transferred to one of Crowther’s other business checking accounts on April 16.

It was listed on Crowther’s bank statement as ‘loan from casey’. 

On April 21, another $100,000 was wired to a bank account of a former company stakeholder who had resigned from the firm back on December 31.

The next day $3,300 was transferred to a joint checking account Crowther shared with his wife. 

A total of $689,417 was then wired on April 24 to a bank in Sarasota for the purchase of the catamaran from a boat seller.

The remaining balance of $1,179,963 was moved to another business account owned by Crowther on May 7, according to the complaint.

The account the funds had first been deposited into was then closed, it states.

Crowther pictured on what is believed to be the boat he allegedly purchased using the PPP loan, just days after funds entered his account

Crowther pictured on what is believed to be the boat he allegedly purchased using the PPP loan, just days after funds entered his account 

A total of $689,417 was wired on April 24 to a bank in Sarasota for the purchase of the catamaran from a boat seller

A total of $689,417 was wired on April 24 to a bank in Sarasota for the purchase of the catamaran from a boat seller

Crowther has resigned from his position as a board member for Builder’s Care, a non-profit that provides emergency construction services for free to elderly and disabled homeowners. 

Builder’s Care said in a statement that ‘Crowther did not have access to, and was not responsible for, the organization’s finances’. 

Crowther was released from the Charlotte County Jail on $100,000 bond Wednesday.

The case is being investigated by the Secret Service. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.   

The PPP was created by Congress and designed to loan money to small businesses with 500 employees or less to help them survive the economic downturn during the coronavirus crisis, ensuring they can still pay their employees and bills, and avoid mass layoffs.

Companies that use the money to avoid layoffs will not have to pay the money back as long as 75 percent of the funds are used to pay staff.  

The criminal complaint. Another $100,000 was wired to a bank account of a former company stakeholder who had resigned back on December 31, it states

The criminal complaint. Another $100,000 was wired to a bank account of a former company stakeholder who had resigned back on December 31, it states 

The scheme has been plagued with issues from the get-go with several multi-million dollar public companies with thousands of employees exploiting legal loopholes to access funds before smaller, eligible firms in desperate need could get a dime. 

After being publicly shamed and slammed for such moves, many big businesses paid back their funds.  

Others have been exposed for trying to con money out of the scheme for personal gain. 

Two Florida neighbors Latoya Stanley, 38, and Johnny Philus, 33, are facing federal charges for allegedly inventing farms they claimed to run out of yards in the middle of Miami to obtain $1.1million in funds. 

Stanley and Philus were arrested and charged with wire fraud and making false statements last month. 

Questions are also being asked over the ethical downfalls of the program after a small gas station in California was approved for a loan ranging between $150,000 and $350,000 and then paid for six Make America Great Again campaign billboards along a highway in early August.  

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