A man used COVID funds for plastic surgery, weight loss and jewelry

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (KDVR) – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced on Friday that a Highlands Ranch man was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining funds intended to aid small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daniel Stonebarger, 50, was sentenced on May 26. In addition to his prison sentence, he was sentenced to three years of probation. He was also ordered to pay $794,462.08 in restitution to the Small Business Administration and $28,142 to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Stonebarger submitted numerous fraudulent claims between April 5, 2020 and June 10, 2020 for Economic Disaster Loans and Grants and Paycheck Protection Program loans through the SBA.

By using new and existing business names to apply for the loans and falsifying the companies’ founding dates, number of employees, revenues and costs, the prosecutor’s office said Stoneburger obtained $855,252.50. He was also paid $28,142 by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

“This defendant took money that was supposed to be used to provide emergency financial assistance to small businesses and individuals suffering from the negative economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prosecuting pandemic fraud is a Justice Department priority and an ongoing priority for investigators here in Colorado,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Stoneburger used the funds to pay for, among other things, a relative’s plastic surgery, a weight-loss program, wedding expenses, jewelry, a platoon, travel expenses and resort.

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