Two Men Charged With Fudging COVID-19 Small Business Loan Applications
FBI agents on Tuesday arrested two New England men after the Justice Department charged them with fraudulently seeking over $500,000 in federal government stimulus money from the small business relief program. It’s the first U.S. criminal action related to the Paycheck Protection Program, which is designed to provide financial relief so small businesses can keep people employed through the pandemic. David Staveley, 52, allegedly sought over $438,000 on falsified claims that he had three restaurants with dozens of employees, while David Butziger, 51, allegedly requested over $100,000 for a non-existent wireless company on the fraudulent basis of having employees that he needed to pay, according to prosecutors. Investigators found that two of the restaurants Staveley listed weren’t operating before the pandemic and he had no link to the third. Prosecutors cited emails in which the two men allegedly coordinated together to make the fraudulent loan applications.