Montana restaurant owner admits using COVID relief money to buy vintage cars
On May 24, 2020, Bolte signed a loan agreement for $ 74,800 and expressly acknowledged that the EIDL loan would be used only as working capital for his business. Court documents indicate that on April 1, 2020, Bolte applied to the SBA for a commercial loan under the Economic Disaster Lending Program (EIDL), authorized by the Federal Aid, Relief and Security Act. against coronaviruses.
Eleven days after receiving the loan, Bolte wrote a check for $ 75,000 for the purchase of four vintage vehicles. The SBA would not have approved or funded Bolte’s loan if it had known Bolte’s intended and actual use of the funds.
Bolte’s intention at the time of signing the loan was to purchase vintage cars as an investment and not as working capital for his business.
Bolte, 70, has pleaded guilty to theft of money, property or government records – a misdemeanor – as accused in a standby report.
He faces up to a year in prison, a fine of $ 100,000 and a year of supervised release.
A plea deal asks the government to recommend that the indictment be dismissed and Bolte to be responsible for the full restitution of $ 74,800.
U.S. District Judge Susan Watters presided over and sentenced April 13, 2022.
Bolte also accepts criminal confiscation of vintage cars, including a 1916 Studebaker, 1929 Franklin, 1939 Ford Deluxe, and 1941 Ford Super Deluxe.
Bolte was released pending further proceedings.
“Federal programs, like the one at issue here, don’t work when people cheat. If someone like Bolte asks for federal program funds to help businesses survive the pandemic, but instead buys classic cars, it robs other deserving applicants of the opportunity to use the funds. These government loan programs rely on the integrity of the applicants to use the money as intended. When people try to cheat, they are fully investigated and prosecuted, ”US Attorney Leif Johnson said in a press release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Kakuk continued the case, which was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the SBA Inspector General’s Office and the Office of the American attorney.
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