A Skowhegan man who allegedly lied about his business’ payroll to get a $60,000 loan from the Paycheck Protection Program and attempted to obtain additional federal funds fraudulently has been charged in federal court.
Nathan Reardon, 43, formerly of Brewer, is charged in U.S. District Court in Bangor with bank fraud and attempted wire fraud in a national emergency.
He is the first Maine resident charged with illegally obtaining a loan intended to help businesses pay employees and other expenses during the early days of the pandemic.
Reardon allegedly used the money to pay his lawyer and a local veterinarian, make donations to a Florida church and shop online. His purchases included a men’s 14-carat yellow gold wedding band, clothing, shaving products, toys, an LED barber pole light and a pair of caiman skin cowboy boots, a court affidavit said. Caimans are a species related to alligators found in Central and South America.
Reardon also allegedly withdrew more than $10,000 of the loan in cash.
In addition, he tried to get an Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the Small Business Administration using the same false information about his business expenses, the affidavit said.
He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on April 15. Reardon has not been arrested.
A lawyer has not yet entered an appearance on Reardon’s behalf.
Reardon applied for a PPP loan for his business, Global Disruptive Technologies, Inc., on April 3, one week after the U.S. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act that provided money for PPP loans through private lending institutions, the affidavit said. Reardon sought the loan through TD Bank in Bangor where he had a checking account.
In applying for the loan, Reardon claimed the business had an average monthly payroll of $23,658, according to the court document. In reality, Reardon paid employees $1,353 during the first quarter of 2020, the investigator found. The business’ website says that it has started and grown more than 70 companies since 1999.
Federal law allowed businesses to receive Paycheck Protection Program loans worth up to 2.5 times their monthly payroll. Reardon allegedly received a loan of $59,145 based on false information.
When the loan was approved and the money was transferred to Reardon’s account on April 22, it allegedly had a negative balance of more than $4,000.
Despite having signed the loan agreement that said he understood the company could apply only once for a PPP loan, Reardon applied again on behalf of Global Disruptive Technologies on April 30, 2020, using the same false information he’d submitted before.
The bank denied that application but mistakenly released another $59,145 to Reardon’s account on May 4, 2020, the affidavit said. Two days later, TD Bank identified the error and placed a freeze on the remaining $28,000 in the account.
Reardon allegedly tried unsuccessfully to obtain PPP loans for two other businesses, Choice Auto and Membership Holdings, according to the court document. All three businesses were registered in Florida but used a Brewer address.
The investigation that led to the charges found that “neither Reardon nor his companies conducted business generating revenues in 2020.” Instead, Reardon was focused on various business ventures and developing properties in the Bangor, Newport, Howland and Skowhegan areas during that time.
Reardon has twice filed for bankruptcy in Florida and was convicted in Maine for theft by misapplication of property, failing to collect taxes and failing to pay taxes or file tax returns. All were misdemeanors.
If convicted in federal court, Reardon faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. He also could be ordered to repay the amount of the loans, including the money he received mistakenly.