A Massachusetts man who attempted to scam the government out of more than half a million dollars in coronavirus relief funds intended to help small businesses stay afloat, then faked his own suicide, was sentenced to 56 months in prison, federal prosecutors said.
Staveley and his accomplice, David Butziger, 53, of Rhode Island, claimed to have dozens of employees earning wages at four different businesses. But they did not own the businesses and there were no employees working for them, prosecutors said. The pair submitted applications for nearly $543,7778 in funds shortly after the small business loan program was announced.
“This was a get rich and make an easy buck scheme,” U.S. District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy said.
Staveley and Butziger were the first people in the nation to be charged with trying to defraud the CARES Act SBA Paycheck Protection Program. No money was released to the men, according to authorities.
After being charged with the fraud and released on house arrest in May 2020, Staveley removed his monitoring device, parked his car near the ocean with his wallet inside and left suicide notes for associates and family members, the DOJ said. He then used fake…