A man tried to steal $543,000 in Covid funds and faked his death to avoid arrest. The story is interesting because the suspect was caught on CCTV footage trying to enter the bank with a fake ID, but he was stopped by an armed security guard who noticed something suspicious about him.
David Staveley pretended to die in order to avoid federal prosecution stemming from false pandemic relief loans he sought (Picture: Wayland Police Department)
A man was sentenced to more than four years in federal prison for attempting to defraud the US government of hundreds of thousands of dollars in Covid-19 relief loans before faking his own death.
Acting US Attorney Richard B Myrus said on Thursday that David Adler Staveley is the first individual in the nation to be prosecuted with illegally obtaining forgiven epidemic relief small business loans under the CARES Act.
Staveley and his accomplice David Andrew Butziger submitted four false loan applications with a Rhode Island bank on behalf of numerous companies with significant monthly payrolls.
They applied for loans for two Warwick, Rhode Island restaurants, a Berlin, Massachusetts restaurant, and a wireless business — none of which were owned by Staveley.
A man facing federal prosecution is believed to be the first individual in the United States to falsely apply for pandemic relief loans (Picture: CBS Boston)
Staveley, 54, not only had no ownership in the companies for which he requested relief, but two of them were closed at the time the loan applications were filed and remain closed.
There were no workers at the wireless firm, and no salaries were ever paid.
‘A concerned citizen knowing of the false nature of the loan applications brought them to the attention of law enforcement, which ultimately led to their rejection,’ according to a sentencing document.
In May 2020, Staveley appeared in US District Court and was ordered to be held at home with an electronic monitoring device.
The couple reportedly claimed to be paying dozens of employees at four separate companies when they in reality had no employees (Picture: CBS Boston)
He removed his tracking device, faked his own death, and fled three weeks after being accused with illegally soliciting small business loans.
According to the Washington Post, Staveley left suicide letters with relatives and colleagues, many of whom thought he was dead.
Many others close to him, including his 80-year-old mother, received the letters. Law authorities launched a search and rescue for him when his unlocked vehicle was discovered on a beach near the Atlantic Ocean, keys in the ignition with his wallet.
Many assumed he was dead, but those closest to him assumed it was another of Staveley’s scams – and they were correct, according to FBI investigators.
On behalf of multiple companies with significant monthly payrolls, two individuals submitted four fake loan applications to a Rhode Island bank. (Photo courtesy of CBS Boston)
Staveley used false identities and stolen license plates to travel to several states while on the run. After almost two months on the run, he was arrested by US Marshals in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Staveley will be monitored by the federal government for three years.
Butziger, 53, who pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud in September 2020, will not be sentenced until November 1.
The FBI and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation were in charge of investigating this event, and Assistant US Attorney Lee H Vilker is prosecuting the charges.
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