Fort Myers Business Owner Convicted At Trial For COVID Relief Fraud
Fort Myers, Florida – A federal jury today found Casey David Crowther (35, Fort Myers) guilty of bank fraud, making a false statement to a lending institution, and two counts of money laundering. Crowther faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison for the bank fraud and false statement charges, and up to 10 years in federal prison for each money laundering charge. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to evidence presented at trial, Crowther obtained a $2.1 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan by falsely stating that he intended to use the money to make payroll and pay for rent and utilities for his company Target Roofing and Sheet Metal, Inc. However, Crowther intended to use the money to enrich himself and, once the loan was obtained, quickly used the proceeds to make a series of personal purchases including a nearly $700,000 boat and a $100,000 payment to a former business partner. Crowther concealed the scheme by providing false explanations for the expenditures to his bank, calling the boat “equipment” and the payment to his partner as “payroll.” To ensure that he did not need to pay the loan back under the terms of the PPP program, Crowther added multiple family members to his company’s payroll who did not actually perform work. Crowther also created 39 fake employees, along with fake identification documents including Social Security cards, in an attempt to show that his company was using the funds appropriately on payroll.
Prior to trial, Crowther had pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of making a false statement to a financial institution related to a mortgage fraud scheme. In that scheme, Crowther created false bank statements to justify a loan he had used to purchase a nearly $1.3 million waterfront house in St. James City, Florida.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Trent Reichling and Michael V. Leeman.