Fort Myers roofer Casey Crowther found guilty on all counts by jury in federal fraud case

After two hours the jury came back with a guilty verdict on all counts in…

After two hours the jury came back with a guilty verdict on all counts in the federal fraud trial for Fort Myers roofer Casey Crowther.

Crowther, 35, of North Fort Myers and president of Target Roofing, was under a federal indictment for COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program fraud.

Casey Crowther

As Crowther sat in the courtroom Friday afternoon and listened to the jury’s verdicts of guilty, his head was bowed down toward the floor.

There will be a pre-sentencing report and his sentencing will be set within the next 45 to 90 days, Judge John Steele said. 

His terms of release will not be changed until sentencing. 

Crowther and his attorneys left the courthouse avoiding press. 

Crowther was indicted by a  grand jury for fraud in September and is charged with bank fraud, false statement to a financial institution and two counts of illegal monetary transaction. 

Crowther was accused of falsely acquiring $2 million in COVID-19 relief funds, was arrested and charged Sept. 2, and released on $100,000 bond Sept. 3.

At 9 a.m. Friday, U.S. Attorney Trenton Reichling began the prosecution’s closing statement. 

Previous coverage: Closing arguments in Casey Crowther fraud trial to begin Friday

And: Fort Myers roofer Casey Crowther pleads guilty on two counts in fraud case; trial starts

He presented to the jury a powerpoint showing, in summary, all the ways the prosecution believes Crowther is guilty of the charges against him.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is to protect paychecks of those who lost wages during the pandemic, Reichling said.

“(Crowther) treated it like his own personal stimulus check,” he said.

He went through what the PPP loan was intended to be used for, including funds to retain workers, rent, mortgage interest payments and health care benefits. Not to purchase a boat for personal use or to pay back a former business partner.

Reichling reminded the jury that two days after Crowther’s PPP loan application was approved he finalized the purchase of the boat.

Crowther was also informed and signed documents acknowledging he understood what this loan was to be used for and if he did not use it appropriately he could be held legally liable.

Reichling also stated in his closing statement that some of the descriptions of the money transactions were misleading to the bank, like naming the purchase of the  boat as “equipment” and the payment to a former business partner “payroll.”

He also reminded the jury of testimony that showed Crowther hired 39 fake employees, some including family members, and then  fired them in order to boost his payroll numbers to get assistance from the PPP loan.

Previously: Trial in federal fraud case against North Fort Myers roofer Casey Crowther set for March 22

One of Crowther’s defense attorney’s Brian Dickerson then began their closing statement by staying, “facts matter, not stories.”

Dickerson told the jury that only part of the story was presented by the prosecution and implored the jury to use their own common sense.

He also stated that the loan was between Sanibel Captiva Bank and Target Roofing, not between the Small Business Association and Target Roofing. Saying that the rules applied to the loan with the SBA not a loan with the bank.

U.S. Attorney Michael Leeson, later clarified with the jury that the bank’s loan also had rules on how the money could be used, which Crowther signed and acknowledged understanding.

He added that not just anyone can apply for a PPP loan, which has 1% interest. Anyone can’t just get that loan, use it for whatever they want as long as they don’t ask for forgiveness.

The PPP loan still has rules on what it can be used for. 

Dickerson also pointed out that the loan forgiveness would only apply to funds used for things like payroll, rent and health benefits, not the loan itself and Crowther has not applied for the loan forgiveness.

According to the loan agreement, Crowther is expected to begin paying back the loan in November.

“The government jumped the gun. They didn’t want to know all the facts, they just wanted to react and they overreacted,” Dickerson said.


After closing statements, the jury heard their instructions from Steele and went to deliberate at 11:30 a.m. 

Monday morning Crowther pleaded guilty to two of six counts of the federal fraud indictment. He made the decision to enter the plea on his own and it was not part of a plea deal.

Fort Myers roofer Casey Crowther found guilty on all counts by jury in federal fraud case 1

error

Enjoy our news? Please spread the word :)