Florida man reportedly used $2 million in virus aid to buy boat

Casey David Crowther has been charged with fraudulently acquiring millions through the Paycheck Protection Program.

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A Florida business owner who received more than $2 million in COVID-19 relief funds used nearly $700,000 of it to buy a 40-foot boat, authorities said.

Casey David Crowther, 35, has been arrested and charged with fraudulently acquiring millions through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for his company Target Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc., The Hill reports.

The PPP was a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The program was set up to help small businesses pay their employees and maintain their businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More: Gas station uses PPP loans to pay for Trump billboards

According to the complaint, Crowther made false and misleading statements to a lender in April in order to secure the loan. 

He then used approximately $689,417 of the funds to purchase a 2020 40-foot catamaran boat. Prosecutors say he transferred the rest of the money to multiple business accounts and closed the account he used to obtain the loan.  

If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in federal prison.

Crowther is the latest business owner charged with fraud by federal prosecutors for crimes related to PPP loans.

theGRIO previously reported, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta star, Arkansas Mo, was charged in May with federal bank fraud charges after investigators discovered he used funds from a $2 million Paycheck Protection Program loan to buy luxury items for himself.

Mo, born Maurice Fayne, allegedly purchased $85,000 worth of jewelry, including a Rolex Presidential watch, a diamond bracelet, and a 5.73-carat diamond ring. He also paid $40,000 in back child support.

Read More: Companies owned by billionaire governor awarded up to $24M in PPP loans

According to MSN, The US Department of Justice also seized $80,000 in cash from the home and found a 2019 Rolls-Royce Wraith that still had temporary tags on it. Agents also seized three bank accounts into which Fayne had allegedly transferred $503,000 worth of PPP funds.

Maurice Fayne Karlie Redd theGrio.com
Maurice “Mo” Fayne and Karlie Redd attend “Ferrari Karlie” Single Release Party at Buckhead Loft on July 18, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

“The defendant allegedly stole money meant to assist hard-hit employees and businesses during these difficult times, and instead greedily used the money to bankroll his lavish purchases of jewelry and other personal items,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said in a statement. “The department will remain steadfast in our efforts to root out and prosecute frauds against the Paycheck Protection Program.”

More than $3 billion in PPP loans may have gone to companies and firms that should have been excluded from the program, The Hill reports.

These increasing cases of fraudulently obtained loans continue to stir debate across social media among Black entrepreneurs who were denied loans through the PPP. According to a recent report from the Small Business Administration, Black and Hispanic businesses were largely shut out of access to the funding.

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