The Skowhegan man charged with fraudulently obtaining a $60,000 loan from the Paycheck Protection Program made his first appearance in federal court in Bangor on Thursday and was released on $5,000 unsecured bail.
Nathan Reardon, 43, formerly of Brewer, is charged with bank fraud and attempted wire fraud in a national emergency.
He is the first Mainer charged with illegally obtaining a loan intended to help businesses pay employees and other expenses during the early days of the pandemic.
Reardon was not asked to enter pleas to the charges because he has not yet been indicted by a federal grand jury. Conditions of his release include not applying for pandemic-related assistance without the approval of U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services.
He would not have to post $5,000 cash as bail unless he violates conditions of his release.
A trial date has not been set.
Reardon’s purchases with the illegally obtained loan 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 used the money to pay his lawyer and a local veterinarian, make donations to a Florida church and shop online. In addition, he withdrew more than $10,000 of the loan in cash, the complaint said.
Reardon applied for a PPP loan for his business, Global Disruptive Technologies Inc. on April 3, 2020, one week after 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, he falsely 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.
The loan program allowed businesses to receive funds 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, 2020, it had a negative balance of more than $4,000, the complaint said.
Despite having signed the loan agreement that said he understood the company could apply only once for a PPP loan, Reardon allegedly 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.”
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.