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Suspect in Coronavirus Relief Funds Fraud Has Disappeared

David A. Staveley was one of two people in the U.S. to be charged with making phony applications for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program

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A businessman who was charged last month with fraudulently seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in forgivable loans designed for businesses struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic has apparently cut off his GPS-monitoring device and disappeared, federal authorities say.

Federal authorities have issued an arrest warrant for David A. Staveley, who also goes by Kurt Sanborn, and he is considered a fugitive, Jim Martin, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Rhode Island said Friday.

The arrest warrant was issued May 27, he said. No additional information was released.

Staveley, of Andover, Massachusetts, and another man are accused of claiming they needed to pay employees at businesses affected by the virus crisis, when in reality their businesses were not operating before the pandemic began and had no employees on the payroll.

Two New England men are accused of lying about their businesses to try to get more than half a million dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program.

They were the first people in the U.S. to be charged with making phony applications for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, officials said.

Staveley had been released to home confinement and was staying at a residence in Dracut, Massachusetts, according to federal records.

Mark Josephs, Staveley's lead attorney, confirmed that his client is missing, but declined to comment further. 

Staveley sought nearly $440,000 in loans claiming that he needed to pay dozens of employees at three restaurants he owned, federal prosecutors said. However, two of the restaurants weren't open before the pandemic began, and he didn't have any connection to the third, authorities said.

He is charged with conspiracy to make false statements to influence the Small Business Administration, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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