Massachusetts man who faked suicide to avoid jail sentenced in COVID-19 relief scam
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A Massachusetts man who faked suicide to avoid jail time was sentenced on Thursday over a COVID-19 relief scam.   

David Adler Staveley, 54, was sentenced to more than four years in prison and three years of supervised release for seeking thousands of dollars in fraudulent loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Justice Department said in a statement.

Staveley and his co-defendant, David Andrew Butziger, were the first individuals in the country to be charged with fraudulently seeking pandemic relief loans in May of last year.

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The two men filed four fraudulent applications for PPP loans with a bank in Rhode Island, falsely claiming that they owned businesses with large amounts of payroll and seeking a combined $543,959 in loans, according to an FBI affidavit. Three of the applications were for restaurants that had been closed, while the fourth loan was for employees at Dock Wireless, an unincorporated business.

Three weeks after being released to home detention, Staveley removed his electronic monitoring device, staged a suicide and fled, the Department of Justice said. He left suicide notes with associates and left his wallet in an unlocked car that he parked along the ocean in Massachusetts.

Between May 26 and July 23, 2020, Staveley traveled to various states using false identities and stolen license plates. He was apprehended by the U.S. Marshals Service in Georgia on July 23, 2020.

Staveley pleaded guilty in May to conspiring to commit bank fraud and failure to appear in court.

Butziger pleaded guilty in September 2020 to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Prosecutors said Friday that he will be sentenced on Nov. 1.