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Ex-North Shore pizza shop owner scammed COVID fund to buy alpaca farm, feds say

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a close up of a baby sheep looking at the camera: alpacas © AP Photo/Toby Talbot alpacas

A former North Shore resident is accused of defrauding a federal COVID-19 relief program of hundreds of thousands of dollars, some of which he used to purchase an alpaca farm, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

Dana L. McIntyre, 57, of Grafton, Vermont, and previously of Beverly and Essex, Massachusetts, was charged in a criminal complaint with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. McIntyre will make a virtual initial appearance in federal court in Boston Tuesday afternoon.

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McIntyre is the former owner of Rasta Pasta Pizzeria in Beverly.

In April 2020, McIntyre submitted a fraudulent application for a Paycheck Protection Program loan for more than $660,000 through a Small Business Administration-approved lender, investigators said.

In the application, McIntyre inflated information about the pizzeria’s employees and payroll expenses and falsified an official tax form in an effort to qualify the business for a larger loan amount, investigators said.

McIntyre claimed the pizzeria had about 50 employees, but records show the business had fewer than 10 paid employees at any given time, investigators said.

After receiving a loan for more than $660,000, McIntyre sold the pizzeria and used nearly all 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 among other expenses, investigators said.

Wire fraud and money laundering are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison, in addition to fines.

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