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A man who pretended to be suicide and fled trial for fraudulently soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars in coronavirus pandemic relief loans to struggling small businesses was sentenced Thursday to nearly five years in prison .

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David Stavley, 54, of Andover, Massachusetts, and a fellow were the first people in the country to be charged with fraudulently soliciting Paycheck Protection Program loans, the US attorney’s office in Rhode Island said in a statement.

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Prosecutors said Stavley — who also goes by Kurt David Sanborn or David Sanborn — and David Andrew Butziger, 53, of Warwick, Rhode Island, filed four fraudulent loan applications with a Rhode Island bank, claiming they had large monthly payments. Payroll businesses.

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Combined, they sought approximately $550,000 in loans for two Warwick, Rhode Island, restaurants and a third restaurant in Berlin, Massachusetts, as well as a wireless company.

Prosecutors said Stavley had no ownership of the restaurant, which was closed at the time the loan application was submitted. Prosecutors said the wireless company had no employees and that wages were never paid by the business.

According to a previous statement from the US Marshals Service, Stavley originally pleaded not guilty in May 2020 and was imprisoned in the home, but removed his GPS monitor and fled.

His vehicle was found near a beach in Quincy, Massachusetts, with the key in the ignition open, and his wallet, credit card and driver’s license inside. Officials said he also told his associates that he was going to kill himself.

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But no evidence was found that he had taken his own life, and marshals concluded that Stavley had faked his death.

Prosecutors said that using false identities and stolen license plates, he traveled to several states before being caught with officers in Alpharetta, Georgia, on July 23, 2020.

Officials said that at the time of his arrest, he had multiple forms of identification bearing different names.

Stavley pleaded guilty in May 2021 to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and failure to appear in court.

Butziger, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud in September 2020, is to be sentenced on November 1.