BEVERLY – Felicia Carr laughed as she and her colleagues at Chelsea Morning Produce in Ipswich read the headlines about a North Shore man accused of fraudulently obtaining $ 661,000 in aid in the event of a coronavirus pandemic, then to use the money to buy an alpaca farm.
“From what I’ve read, I don’t think I’m going to get my money back now,” Carr said.
That money is the $ 6,036 judgment his company was convicted of in Salem District Court last year against Dana McIntyre.
McIntyre had bought food for his restaurant, Rasta Pasta Pizzeria in Beverly, at Chelsea Morning – but, according to the lawsuit, had not paid. The magistrate in the small claims session had also issued a type of civil warrant against McIntyre known as capias, giving Carr the right to have him arrested by a gendarme and bring him to justice.
But before she can do so, “COVID has struck,” Carr said.
According to court records, Carr is one of a long list of people who have tried in civil court McIntyre, who over the past 20 years has quit running home improvement companies and a company that has promised to install “rooftops.” greens ”- roofs covered in plants – When the pizzeria opened in 2016 at its most recent business, federal prosecutors for Alpaca Farm in Grafton, Vt., say he bought it on a loan fraudulently obtained payroll protection program.
In addition, state officials have fined McIntyre at least two for various violations of home improvement contractors’ regulations – including for presenting himself as a contractor without actually having a license.
Since the early 2000s, McIntyre’s activities have included home improvement, landscaping, chimney sweeping, a business that promotes the installation of plants on rooftops, and a porch business.
McIntyre, for a time in the early 2000s, also became president of the Salem Rotary Club, where he promoted the organization’s campaign to fund surgery for children born with a cleft palate and cleft lip in developing countries. He frequently sought advertisements in local newspapers, including The Salem News.
He later appeared on the “Chronicle” show to promote his “green roof” business. In recent years, he had bought paid airtime on WBOQ, a North Shore radio station, to promote cryptocurrency.
Behind his enthusiasm, however, there were problems.
Two complaints filed with the state’s Office of Consumer and Business Regulation in 2015 relate to a conservatory business operated by McIntyre, which had multiple names, including Total Pro, Total Serv Pro, and Four Seasons Factory Direct Sunrooms or FS Sunrooms. , according to the files obtained. by The Salem News in connection with a public records request.
In one case, McIntyre was hired in 2012 by a woman who wanted to close a back gangway and add a veranda. The woman had paid nearly $ 20,000 for the project, most of which came from a loan from the state-administered mortgage modification program when, in 2014, he stopped working. The woman learned through her town’s home inspector that McIntyre did not have a license.
He was fined a total of $ 1,100 by the agency – after a hearing officer found that in some of the complaints against him, consumer protections did not apply because ‘he did not have a license.
Notice of this fine was sent to a Gloucester address, but was returned as undeliverable.
In a second complaint, a hearing officer fined McIntyre $ 5,000 for multiple violations in his work on what was ultimately supposed to be a $ 44,517 project. The owner had hired him to convert a three season porch into a four season room. After several modifications to the plan, work began. The owner said in her complaint to the state that after sending people to remove the porch’s existing windows and doors, work stopped and it became elusive. Her efforts to obtain reimbursement of the $ 18,741 she had paid him were unsuccessful.
The names and communities where the two owners live have been redacted from complaints provided by the state.
Some of those who hired McIntyre have gone to court to try to get their money back.
Among those who have judgments against McIntyre is a homeowner Wellesley who hired McIntyre’s company to replace the windows in his house. He found out that the wrong type of glass was used only after a piece of ice fell on it after a snowstorm. The owner had to pay someone else to replace all the windows. After the owner, who requested that his name not be used, obtained a court judgment against McIntyre, McIntyre filed for bankruptcy in 2016.
It was the second time he had filed for bankruptcy.
By that time, McIntyre had already moved into the restaurant business, filing for bankruptcy as an employee of Rasta Foods.
On Thursday, McIntyre’s lawyers and one of three landlords he rented from while running the business were in Lawrence Superior Court in a dispute over unpaid rent and the conditions of the location in the Cornerstone building on Cabot Street.
McIntyre’s attorney in this case, Jason Stelmack, declined to comment on this case and the prior cases after the hearing.
Documents filed with the Secretary of State’s office show the company was incorporated as Dana McIntyre, a name he shares with one of his children. After its dissolution in 2019, according to an affidavit filed in the fraud case, McIntyre started another company called Marley’s Pizza Inc., using his son’s name. (During the process of applying for a PPP loan as well as assistance under another loan program, McIntyre created what prosecutors call bogus businesses on behalf of his children. The investigator believes his children were not aware of the use of their names Over here.)
Back in Ipswich, Carr says it was never entirely clear who owned the pizzeria. “He kept diving and dodging the owners of Rasta Pasta,” she says. It was “really hard” to get hold of McIntyre.
She said she also found it strange that he had moved several times, moving from the foot of Rue Rantoul to Rue Cabot, and then, in the midst of a legal dispute with the owner, moving again to a new location. further up Cabot Street.
McIntyre’s attorney in the federal fraud case, Boston defense attorney Brad Bailey, said he couldn’t resolve past business disputes involving McIntyre.
“I’m focusing on the issue I’m representing him on, which I’ll probably comment on at an appropriate time and place,” Bailey said in an email.
The new allegations, reported across the country with blurry images of alpacas, drew laughter – but also anger from some, as the PPP program ran out of funds before every company could get help. .
McIntyre was able to secure the loan through an online funding platform called Kabbage, which has recently come under scrutiny for being one of the biggest originators of PPP loans after Bank of America. A ProPublica report this week said many recent fraud cases brought by federal prosecutors involved loans made by Kabbage before it was acquired by American Express.
Carr said that as a small business owner, getting a small P3 loan for his business, which has 10 employees, was hard work. The fruit and vegetable seller qualified for $ 38,000, which helped her keep her truckers on the payroll when most of her customers were closing or drastically reducing their orders.
“We were really lucky,” she said. “We have good accountants. There is no way I could have done it on my own. You have to gather a lot of information very quickly. ”
The program quickly ran out of funds and a number of small business owners who qualified for loans were unable to obtain them.
McIntyre, meanwhile, claimed a payroll of $ 265,000 and 47 employees, allowing him to receive $ 661,000. Investigators say he never employed more than 10 people.
“I’m sure a ton of people missed the game,” Carr said.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.