Feds: Man Bought $700K Boat With PPP Relief Funds

Defendant faces 30 years in prison for fraud

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Catamaran Fraudster

SEPTEMBER 3--After fraudulently securing more than $2 million in coronavirus relief funds, a Florida businessman spent nearly $700,000 of the proceeds on a 40-foot boat, federal investigators allege.

In a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Casey Crowther, 35, is charged with making false statements to a lending institution in connection with his receipt in April of a $2.09 million Payroll Protection Program loan. If convicted of the felony count, Crowther could face a maximum of 30 years in prison.

According to the complaint, Crowther claimed in his PPP application that the funds he sought were to be used to cover payroll, rent, and utilities for a Fort Myers roofing firm he owned.

But after the forgivable loan was approved and Crowther received the PPP funds from Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, he wired $689,417 to a Sarasota boat dealer for the purchase of a 2020 Invincible catamaran. Crowther subsequently registered the 40-foot boat in his name.

The federal agent who swore out the complaint against Crowther (seen at right) noted that, “Your affiant has probable cause to believe the boat was purchased for personal use and not for any business purpose related to Target Roofing.”

The fishing boat is seen above in a manufacturer’s photo.

Crowther was arrested yesterday and later released from custody on a $100,000 unsecured bond.

Crowther is the third man in recent weeks to be charged with using relief funds for luxury purchases. In late-July, a Miami resident was accused of spending $318,000 in PPP money for a 2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo. Last month, a Texas businessman was charged with buying a 2019 Lamborghini Urus with $233,000 in PPP funds. (2 pages)