FORT MYERS

The owner of a Fort Myers roofing company has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of defrauding the government on $ 2 million in COVID-19 relief funds.

Casey David Crowther, 35, was arrested on September 2 and accused of having made a false declaration to a credit institution to guarantee the funds.

He appeared in federal court in downtown Fort Myers on Wednesday to plead not guilty to abuse of funds, which authorities say they used to purchase a 2020 40-foot catamaran for around $ 689,000.

According to the complaint filed earlier this month by US lawyer Maria Chapa Lopez, Crowther requested and received over $ 2 million in payroll protection program loan through a request on behalf of his Fort Myers company. , Target Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. Its loan application included false and misleading claims regarding the use of PPP funds, in particular that PPP funds would only be used for business purposes, to retain workers and maintain the payroll or make mortgage payments, lease payments and utility payments, the lawyer mentioned.

The federal charges include one count of bank fraud, one count of misrepresenting a lending institution, and two counts of illegal money transactions.

If convicted, Crowther faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. He was released on $ 100,000 bond a day after his arrest.

Statement published Wednesday by Target Roofing & Sheet Metal:

Since receiving the PPP loan, Target Roofing has spent $ 3,507,552.35 in payroll and has hired more than 50 team members for its staff. This is exactly the goal of the PPP program: to rehire the workforce, maintain jobs, pay our workers and support our local economy. We fully intend to defend these allegations and to clear our name of any wrongdoing. We appreciate the support of our customers and look forward to continuing to serve our Southwest Florida community.

Note: Crowther Roofing & Sheet Metal in Fort Myers claims to have no business affiliation with Casey Crowther or Target Roofing & Sheet Metal.

DOWNLOAD: Federal Indictment of Casey Crowther (pdf)