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Former Beverly pizza shop owner charged with defrauding COVID-19 relief program of more than $660K

Alpacas at a farm in Groton, MA. Dana L. McIntyre, 57, the former owner of Rasta Pasta Pizzeria was arrested Tuesday on fraud charges. He allegedly spent COVID-19 relief money for the pizzeria on personal expenses such as a Vermont farm and several alpacas, authorities said.
Alpacas at a farm in Groton, MA. Dana L. McIntyre, 57, the former owner of Rasta Pasta Pizzeria was arrested Tuesday on fraud charges. He allegedly spent COVID-19 relief money for the pizzeria on personal expenses such as a Vermont farm and several alpacas, authorities said.The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

A former owner of a Beverly pizza shop was arrested Tuesday on charges that he defrauded a federal COVID-19 relief program of more than $660,000 by spending the funds on personal items, including a Vermont farm and several alpacas, federal authorities said.

Dana L. McIntyre, 57, the former owner of Rasta Pasta Pizzeria, allegedly filed a fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program application in April 2020, prosecutors said in a statement. Funds from the program are meant to cover business expenses, including payroll, during the pandemic.

In his application, McIntyre misrepresented the number of people he employed and his payroll expenses, prosecutors said. He reported employing nearly 50 people at the pizza shop, though records show the business paid fewer than 10 workers, according to prosecutors. He also allegedly falsified a tax form in an effort to obtain a larger loan amount.

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After McIntyre received a loan of more than $660,000, he sold the pizza business and used the funds for personal expenses, including “to purchase and upgrade a farm in Vermont as well as to buy several alpacas, at least two vehicles, and weekly airtime for a cryptocurrency-themed radio show,” prosecutors said.

McIntyre, who lives in Grafton, Vt., is charged with wire fraud and money laundering. “He does deny the allegation and will have further comment at a later date,” McIntyre’s lawyer, Jason M. Stelmack, said by email.

McIntyre appeared in federal court on Tuesday and was released on $100,000 unsecured bond with conditions including surrendering his passport, not obtaining travel documents, no drugs, no contacting witness, and no selling real estate, Elizabeth McCarthy, a spokesperson for the US attorney’s office, said in an e-mail.

The next hearing has not been set, she said.

Correspondent Andrew Stanton contributed to this story.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.