Colorado man convicted of using COVID Relief Funds for plastic surgery, weight loss and jewelry

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (KKTV) – The US Attorney for the District of Colorado says 50-year-old Daniel Stonebarger of Highlands Ranch has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.

Officials say that between April 5, 2020 and June 10, 2020, Stonebarger received multiple fraudulent “applications for Disaster Economic Injury Loans and Grants (EIDLs and EIDGs) and Paycheck Protection Loans (PPP) through the Small Business Administration.” submitted. In total, he received $855,252.50 in funds.”

He also filed for pandemic unemployment benefits in Colorado and was awarded $28,142 by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).

Stonebarger used new and existing names to apply for the loans, “and falsified company incorporation dates, headcounts, revenue and expenses.” In a press release, officials say, “The defendant used these funds to pay for plastic surgery for a relative, a weight loss program, bridal expenses, jewelry, a peloton, travel and resort expenses, among other things.”

“This defendant has taken money that should be used to provide emergency financial assistance to small businesses and individuals experiencing adverse economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prosecuting pandemic fraud is a Justice Department priority and an ongoing focus of investigators here in Colorado,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan.

“This defendant was a criminal opportunist who took advantage of what he saw as easy money through programs created to keep businesses afloat during the pandemic,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. “This result is a reminder that the FBI is aggressively pursuing those who attempt to defraud the federal government.”

“We continue to pursue those who exploit taxpayer-funded aid programs for their own illegal gain,” said Marc DellaSala, senior special agent in charge at the US Secret Service’s Denver field office. “Together with partners at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, our united law enforcement community has taken unprecedented action to identify, locate and arrest those responsible for pandemic-related fraud. I would like to thank the US Attorney’s office for their unwavering support of this effort.”

“We established the Colorado Unemployment Fraud Task Force to investigate and prosecute those stealing vital pandemic-related government funds for personal gain. I am grateful and proud of the cooperation between the Task Force and the US Attorney’s Office in enabling us to bring this defendant to justice for defrauding the government. When the public is deceived, we are all deceived and we will continue to hold fraudsters accountable,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.

In addition to Stonebargers’ sentence, he will serve three years of supervised release, pay $794,462.08 in compensation to the SBA and $28,142 to the CDLE. The court also entered a judgment for confiscation of $822,794.50.

Anyone with information about suspected COVID-19-related fraud may report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline through the NCDF Web Complaint Form.

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