Massachusetts Man Fakes Suicide to Avoid COVID-19 Relief Fraud Charges

The man allegedly faked his suicide after being charged for fraudulently acquiring nearly half-million dollars in forgivable loans meant to help businesses impacted by the coronavirus.

  • Updated

A Massachusetts man is accused of faking his suicide to avoid federal charges of fraud for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to defraud the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

David Adler Staveley, 53, from Andover, who also goes by the names Kurt David Sanborn and David Sanborn, was indicted on three counts of bank fraud and one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, false statements to influence the Small Business Administration (SBA), aggravated identity theft, and failure to appear in court.

Fraudulently Acquiring Forgivable COVID-19 Relief Loans


Staveley and a co-conspirator, Andrew Butziger, 52, of Warwick, Rhode Island, conspired to seek forgivable loans amounting to $438,500 from the SBA through the CARES Act, claiming to own businesses that were impacted by the pandemic.

They claimed they oversaw dozens of employees that need to be paid wages at several businesses, when in fact, the businesses were either closed or not owned by them, therefore making them ineligible for funds meant for coronavirus relief.

Following his arrest on May 5, Staveley was released by the court on an unsecured $10,000 bond with certain travel restrictions. However, he violated the terms when he traveled to Connecticut without the consent or approval of the court of United States Probation, according to federal investigators.

Left Suicide Note in Abandoned Car By Ocean

On May 11, the court sentenced Staveley to house arrest and ordered him to wear a GPS-monitoring device, which he managed to cut off and flee. The U.S. Probation Office received an alert that his monitor had been removed and a fugitive investigation was initiated.

According to his indictment, Staveley staged his suicide by leaving a suicide note in his vehicle, which he left unlocked and abandoned by the Atlantic Ocean, to make it appear as though he had drowned himself.

Massachusetts State Police said they found his car unlocked with a key in the ignition, along with his personal belongings, including his wallet, credit cards, driver's license, in addition to the typed and signed suicide note.

Police said they investigated the scene and dispatched a search and rescue boat to try to find his body. No evidence was found that he committed suicide and U.S. Marshals said they concluded that he faked his death and fled the area.

Between May and July, Staveley then traveled from one state to another using false identities and stolen license plates before he was arrested by U.S. Marshalls in Georgia.

Related topics : Coronavirus