PROVIDENCE — The Massachusetts man who authorities allege faked suicide to evade prosecution on charges that he lied to secure federal stimulus loans agreed this week to plead guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud.
David Staveley, 53, of Andover, on Thursday agreed in a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court to admit to two of the seven counts he faces: conspiracy and failure to appear in court.
In exchange, federal prosecutors will dismiss counts of bank fraud, making false statements to influence the Small Business Administration and aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison.
Staveley, who is also known as Kurt D. Sanborn and David Sanborn, faces up to 40 years in prison.
Last May, Staveley and David Butziger, 52, of Warwick, became the first people in the nation to be charged with defrauding the CARES Act SBA Paycheck Protection Program.
Butziger and Staveley, who were listed as owners of the former Remington House restaurant in Warwick, were charged with conspiring to make false statements to secure more than $500,000 in forgivable business loans and conspiring to commit bank fraud.
Staveley was later indicted on three counts of bank fraud and one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, making false statements to influence the Small Business Administration, aggravated identity theft for allegedly posing as his brother in a real-estate deal, and failure to appear in court after authorities alleged he fled prosecution.
Federal prosecutors alleged at the time of their arrests that the men applied for loans for businesses that weren’t operating prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Authorities alleged that Staveley claimed in loan applications seeking more than $438,500 that he had dozens of employees at three restaurants: two in Warwick and one in Berlin, Massachusetts. An investigation determined that one of the Rhode Island restaurants, the former Remington House, and the Massachusetts restaurant, On The Trax, were not open for business prior to the pandemic or at any time afterward.
Additionally, investigators alleged that Staveley did not own or have any role in the second Rhode Island restaurant, Top of the Bay, for which he sought financial relief. No money was released to the men, according to authorities.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Almond initially released Staveley on a $10,000 unsecured bond, but less than a week later ordered him on home detention with GPS monitoring after a woman he briefly dated accused him of harassing and intimidating her after she broke up with him.
Weeks later, the U.S. Probation Office in Rhode Island received an alert that Staveley’s GPS monitor had been removed. An arrest warrant was issued, and the U.S. Marshals Service launched a fugitive investigation.
Authorities said they recovered Staveley’s vehicle with its doors unlocked and a key in the ignition in June near a beach in Quincy, Massachusetts. Staveley’s wallet with credit cards and his Massachusetts driver’s license were in the vehicle, along with a typed and signed suicide note.
Massachusetts State Police attempted to locate his body, but concluded that he had faked his death and fled to avoid prosecution, authorities alleged.
Investigators eventually located him in Georgia in a minivan with California plates. At the time, he was in possession of multiple forms of identifications and ID badges bearing different names, they alleged.
He was returned to Rhode Island and has since been held at Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility. He had sought to be released as the case proceeded so he could receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, but he withdrew that request.
His lawyer, Jason P. Knight, declined comment Friday.
Butziger pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He is due to be sentenced in June.