Casey Crowther’s trial began Tuesday with opening speeches. At least three witnesses had testified by noon, and the final count, the illegal money transaction, was dismissed.
Crowther is charged with COVID relief fraud after authorities said he used the payment protection program to purchase a 40-foot catamaran.
In the opening arguments, the federal government said Crowther, 35, is the only person with access to the paycheck protection program, also known as PPP loans.
Prosecutors said evidence shows Crowther went boat shopping right before applying for PPP loans. In addition, according to prosecutors, Crowther added 39 fake employees to his payroll to “shred” paper at a roofing company, all of whom either had unassigned social security numbers or were inconsistent with social security and green cards.
Crowther also hired five family members who were never seen working at the company.
“The government is trying to prove that Mr. Crowther has a lying problem,” said a prosecutor.
Crowther’s defense team argues it was just a loan, and Crowther never asked for a loan. And because there was no default, there was no loss of government.
Defense attorneys also said Tuesday that Crowther was “not the main party” calling it a “team decision” and a “company decision”.
Earl 7, who was fired, accused Crowther of wire fraud by allowing $ 640,381.21 to be transferred to an escrow account by his mortgage lender to buy a home.
The trial had its first full day on Tuesday after a jury was selected on Monday. Also on Monday, Crowther pleaded guilty to having been charged with bank fraud and false information to a credit institution.
He’s misrepresented his cash and cash equivalents and submitted fraudulent loan applications to a mortgage broker and lender, according to the Feds.
Crowther said he had to “make a down payment” and “didn’t have enough money” so he “changed bank statements on a computer”.
Crowther admitted the crime in court.
Crowther was charged with COVID relief fraud on September 23 for using COVID-19 relief funds to purchase a boat. The US attorney’s office confiscated the 40-foot catamaran. Now they are hoping to take possession of his million dollar property in St. James City, and they said he acquired it as part of his illegal business.