The owner of Florida contractor faces a lengthy prison term after being charged with defrauding a Covid-19 relief scheme.
Casey David Crowther, the manager of Target Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc, applied for a loan of more than $2m from a Payroll Protection Programme (PPP) loan.
The money was intended to prevent his company from laying off workers, however prosecutors claim that Crowther used $690,000 of it to buy himself a 12m-long catamaran.
A statement from the US Attorney’s Middle District of Florida office said: "Crowther submitted a loan application that included false and misleading statements concerning what the PPP funds would be used for, specifically that the PPP funds would only be used for business-related purposes, to retain workers, and maintain payroll or make mortgage payments, lease payments, and utilities payments."
If found guilty, Crowther faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law designed to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering the economic effects of the pandemic. One source of relief is the authorisation of up to $349bn in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses.
The statement added: "A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law."
Image: Â©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier