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Naples man sentenced to federal prison for $2.6M COVID fraud, weapons violation

A business owner lied and provided false documentation to secure loans for five businesses.


  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 10:00 a.m. February 25, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
  • Charlotte–Lee–Collier
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A 35-year-old Naples man is heading back to prison.

Daniel Joseph Tisone was sentenced Feb. 23 to seven years and three months in federal prison for defrauding the federal government and banks to get more than $2.6 million in COVID-19 relief funds and for possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.

Tisone, who was previously convicted of several felonies in New York and Virginia, must also pay $2.61 million in restitution as well as forfeit properties, an engagement ring, ammunition and cash seized from bank accounts. Tisone pled guilty in August to wire fraud, bank fraud, illegal monetary transactions and possessing ammunition.

According to the criminal complaint signed by the FBI special agent in charge of the investigation, Tisone moved to Collier County around February 2018. That's about 10 years after being convicted in Nassau County, New York, for committing four felonies — attempted robbery, first degree; assault, second degree; attempted robbery, second degree; and hindering prosecution — and more than six years after being convicted for another felony in Loudoun County, Virginia — possession of a schedule II controlled substance.

A sentencing memorandum filed by his attorney says that Tisone got into a fight with a drug dealer who stole his laptop when he was a 19-year-old sophomore in college. The lawyer writes that Tisone was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison and five years parole. He served four years and eight months. The letter does not mention the drug conviction.

According to the plea agreement, Tisone was living in Naples and owned five businesses that were registered in Virginia — TEC Ventures LLC, Rub a Dub LLC, Rub a Dub Holdings Inc., Rub a Dub Atlantic LLC and Rub a Dub Marines LLC — and one in Delaware — Rub a Dub Holdings Inc — when the pandemic struck in 2020.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida says Tisone submitted falsified applications for Economic Injury Disaster, Main Street Lending Program and Paycheck Protection Program loans to the U.S. Small Business Administration and approved lenders.

These applications included “numerous false representations,” including his criminal history, average monthly payroll, number of employees and gross revenue. To back up the false assertions, he submitted fictitious payroll and tax documents and a fake commercial lease. He also used the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of individuals who supposedly worked for him on fraudulent payroll and payroll tax documents.

He received 10 loans totaling $2.61 million based on the false information, authorities contended. These funds, which were meant for disaster relief, instead went toward “his own personal enrichment,” officials say, including the purchase of residences in Naples, stocks and investment securities, a 2019 Tiara 34LS boat, a 4.02 carat engagement ring and ammunition.

Then, when the FBI executed a search warrant on his home March 20, 2022, agents found more than 800 rounds of assorted .223/5.56 and 9mm caliber ammunition in the master bedroom and garage.

Federal law prohibits Tisone from possessing a firearm or ammunition.

In the sentencing memorandum, the attorney describes Tisone as a “devoted father of a newborn boy, loving fiancée, business owner and valued member of the Naples community.” The memorandum says growing up he was abused by an absent father and because of that would run away from home, skip school and got into drugs.

The letter goes on to say, that “unlike many others who engage in similar fraud, Daniel had legitimate businesses.”

When the pandemic hit and his automobile detail businesses shut down, he was “desperate to obtain funds and resorted to manufacturing payroll and tax documents” to qualify for the relief money. Tisone did this, according to the letter, because he had no payroll system in place since the majority of his employees were paid in cash.

“Mr. Tisone takes full responsibility for the fraud and deeply regrets his actions,” the attorney writes in the memorandum. “He respects the court and took full responsibility without a trial. He deeply regrets ever taking any funds from the government and is extremely remorseful for the devastating consequences his actions had on his family and now the second business he has lost.”

The letter does not mention the ammunition.

 

author

Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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