New York theme park owner, 61-year-old Donald Finley, pleaded guilty this week to disaster relief fraud and wire fraud in connection with small business loans taken out during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finley admitted to gaining more than $3.2 million in federal aid from the coronavirus pandemic and using part of those funds to purchase a Nantucket home. Finley was the owner of Bayville Adventure Park as well as a Jekyll & Hyde themed restaurant in Manhattan, which closed down in 2022. He was accused of submitting nearly 30 small business loan applications between March of 2020 and March of 2021. Court documents show that each one of these applications were fraudulent, but he was able to receive nearly $3.2 million from the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
Once he received this money, Finley allegedly used the money “to purchase personal assets and pay personal expenses” as opposed to using it as it was intended – to aid businesses during the pandemic. The most notable personal expense was the purchase of a home on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket.
Finley agreed to plea guilty and pay more than the original $3.2 million in restitution payments, as well as a fine as large as $1.25 million. His sentencing date is scheduled for November 8th of this year, where he could face up to 30 years in prison.