PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island: A Rhode Island man has been sentenced to prison after fraudulently seeking COVID-19 relief money from the government and then faking his own death.
David Adler Staveley, 54, was sentenced to 56 months in prison followed by three years probation, according to Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus.
Staveley is the first person in the United States found guilty of fraudulently seeking pandemic relief small business loans from the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Staveley pretended to commit suicide, shortly after his arrest, causing a nationwide search for him by U.S. Marshals.
Officials said that Staveley joined with David Andrew Butziger, 53, of Warwick, Rhode Island, claiming they had a business with a large payroll and filed four fraudulent CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loan applications with a Rhode Island bank.
According to officials, Staveley admitted seeking $185,570 to pay employees at Top of the Bay restaurant in Warwick, Rhode Island; $144,050 at Remington House Inn restaurant in Warwick, Rhode Island; $108,777 at On The Trax restaurant in Berlin, Massachusetts; and $105,381 to pay employees at Dock Wireless, an unincorporated business.
Staveley, however, was not the owner of three of the restaurants, which were all closed when the applications were submitted.
His own business, Dock Wireless, had no employees and no wages were ever paid by the business.
Three weeks after being arrested, and while out on bail, Staveley left suicide notes with associates and fled.
U.S. Marshalls apprehended him in Alpharetta, Georgia, on July 23, 2020.