The United States District Court has dismissed a petition from Fort Myers roofer Casey Crowther to dismiss a fraud indictment against him.
Crowther is the subject of a federal indictment of seven counts for COVID-19 relief fund fraud. He called for part of the indictment to be dismissed, saying the government had misunderstood and misapplied the regulations of the law governing the funds.
Last week District Court Judge John Badalamenti dismissed: “Mr Crowther’s request to dismiss the replacement indictment or, alternatively, the request for clarification (Doc. 41) is REFUSED.
Badalamenti agreed with Crowther in a small area but refuted his overall arguments.
“In a narrow sense, Mr. Crowther is correct – the CARES Act does not create a new crime for the misuse of P3 funds. But as the government points out, Mr. Crowther is not charged with violating the CARES law. The indictment replaces it, with multiple counts of bank fraud, false declarations to credit institutions and carrying out illegal monetary transactions, “the ruling said.
Badalamenti also said Crowther’s claims would be best resolved at trial.
Crowther’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.
Crowther, 35, of North Fort Myers and president of Target Roofing, pleaded not guilty to the indictment in October and faces seven counts, including bank fraud, misrepresentation to a lending institution and illegal monetary transactions.
He was charged with falsely acquiring $ 2 million in COVID-19 relief funds, was arrested and charged on September 2, and released on $ 100,000 bail on September 3.
A federal grand jury had previously indicted Crowther, alleging COVID rescue fraud on September 23. A replacement indictment contained additional charges accusing Crowther of mortgage fraud.
Crowther’s defeat motion suggested that the fraud theory used by prosecutors is the federal government’s misunderstanding and misapplication of the regulations that govern the CARES Act.
The motion also stated that the regulations require specific loan terms and loan cancellation requirements which the government summarily rejected by “stopping Crowther prematurely …”.
The fact that Crowther received the funds and the trail for the transfer of those funds which included the purchase of a 40-foot boat was not disputed by Crowther’s attorneys in the petition.
Dismissing the petition, Badalamenti said the previous indictment provided that Crowther lied to his PPP lender about how he planned to use his loan funds, which the lender allegedly never gave him. he knew Crowther would spend the money for personal use.
In a similar vein, the successor indictment provides that Mr. Crowther used P3 funds to misrepresent the extent of his assets to a mortgage lender, who relied on his false claims to grant him a mortgage loan, ”Badalamenti said in the decision. “These two false statements and the transactions that go with them are at the heart of the indictment that replaces them. In other words, Mr. Crowther’s alleged crime is not that he misused the funds. PPP, but allegedly lied to both his PPP lender and his mortgage lender. “
Badalamenti said that these activities may or may not be illegal under the CARES Act, but many activities are not illegal in themselves, unless they are carried out as part of a fraud.
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