The owner of a Fort Myers roofing company pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he defrauded the government out of $2 million in COVID-19 relief funds.
Casey David Crowther, 35, was arrested Sept. 2 and charged with making a false statement to a lending institution to secure the funds.
He appeared in federal court in downtown Fort Myers on Wednesday to enter a plea of not guilty to misusing the funds, which authorities say he used to buy a 2020 40-foot catamaran for around $689,000.
According to the complaint filed earlier this month by U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez, Crowther sought and received more than $2 million in a Payroll Protection Program loan through an application on behalf of his Fort Myers company, Target Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. His loan application included false and misleading statements concerning what the PPP funds would be used for, specifically that the PPP funds would only be used for business-related purposes, to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage payments, lease payments and utilities payments, the attorney said.
The federal charges include one count of bank fraud, one count of making a false statement to a lending institution and two counts of illegal monetary transaction.
If convicted, Crowther faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. He was released on a $100,000 bond a day after his arrest.
Statement released Wednesday by Target Roofing & Sheet Metal:
Since receiving the PPP loan, Target Roofing has spent $3,507,552.35 in payroll and hired over 50 team members to its staff. This is exactly what the PPP program was intended for: to rehire workforce, maintain jobs, pay our workers, and support our local economy. We fully intend to defend these allegations and clear our name of any wrongdoing. We appreciate the support from our customers and look forward to continuing to serve our Southwest Florida community.
Note: Crowther Roofing & Sheet Metal in Fort Myers says it has no business affiliation with Casey Crowther or Target Roofing & Sheet Metal.
DOWNLOAD: Casey Crowther federal indictment (pdf)