A federal jury convicted Casey David Crowther, 35, of Fort Myers, in a PPP loan fraud case where authorities alleged the roofing company executive bought a $700,000 boat, among other expenditures, with the ill-gotten gains.
The president of Fort Myers-based Target Roofing & Sheet Metal, Crowther was convicted of bank fraud, making a false statement to a lending institution and two counts of money laundering. Prior to that trial and March 26 conviction, Crowther plead 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 case, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office, 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, on Pine Island in Lee County.
In the PPP loan case, Crowther, according to evidence presented at trial, obtained a $2.1 million Paycheck Protection Program loan by falsely stating he intended to use the money to make payroll and pay for rent and utilities for Target Roofing and Sheet Metal. Yet Crowther, authorities contended at trial, “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,” according to the statement.
The boat, according to the criminal complaint filed in September, is a 2020 40’ Invincible Catamaran boat purchased from Sara Bay Marina in Sarasota. Crowther, the complaint stated, had wired $689,417 from the Target Roofing PPP account to a bank in Sarasota to facilitate the purchase. Then he registered the boat in his name to his home address in North Fort Myers.
In addition to the boat purchase, the complaint alleged Crowther transferred funds out of the PPP account on other occasions. One transfer, of $126,000, went from the Target Roofing PPP account to a business checking account run by the company with the “statement as loan from casey,” the complaint alleges. Also, authorities contend Crowther wired $100,000 from the Target Roofing PPP account to the account of a former stakeholder in the company who resigned Dec. 31.
Crowther, according to evidence at the trial, concealed the scheme by providing false explanations for the expenditures to his bank, officials say, calling the boat “equipment” and the payment to his partner as “payroll.” Crowther, officials further alleged, added multiple family members to his company’s payroll who did not actually perform work, to “ensure that he did not need to pay the loan back under the terms of the PPP program.”
Crowther also created 39 fake employees, along with fake identification documents including Social Security cards, in an attempt to prove his company was using the funds appropriately on payroll, officials contended.
Crowther’s attorney, Nicole Waid with FisherBroyles, didn’t return phone calls, emails and texts seeking comment on the jury’s verdict.
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.