Business owner accused of lying to obtain pandemic loan

BOSTON – A former Massachusetts resident has been charged with fraudulently obtaining $2.5 million in federal relief funds intended for businesses struggling during the coronavirus pandemic and using the money to buy vehicles and invest in cryptocurrency.

Federal prosecutors in Boston say 34-year-old Vinicius Santana, who now lives in Florida, was arrested this week and will appear in federal in court in Massachusetts at a future date to face a wire fraud charge.

No defense attorney was listed in court records.

Prosecutors say in 2020 he submitted a Paycheck Protection Program loan application falsely saying his painting business had 154 employees and a $1 million monthly payroll.