USA: Coventry man sentenced to prison for fraudulently obtaining COVID-19 relief funds

A Coventry man has been sentenced to a couple years in prison after he fraudulently obtained $100,000 in COVID-19 relief funds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Officials said John Matava, 58, was taken into custody last January.

According to authorities, Matava requested a PPP loan for J.M. Builders LLC through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In the application, he allegedly lied and said the company had eight employees and an average monthly payroll of $40,000.

He told officials that the money would be used for payroll, lease, mortgage, interest and utilities. However, at the time the loan request was submitted, there were no records of payroll or employees with the state Department of Labor.

In April 2022, Matava was granted the loan through Celtic Bank. He then allegedly used the money for personal expenses, including to pay for a dog breeder, legal fees, a retainer, and more, authorities said.

Officials said he requested an additional $100,000 but was denied. A criminal complaint charged Matava with wire fraud affecting a financial institution.

On Friday, Matava was sentenced to two years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He’ll also have to pay back the PPP loan.