Nashua health club owner indicted on Covid relief fraud
$1M in CARES Act funding fraudulently obtained
Matthew Dispensa, owner/operator of the Gateway Hills Health Club in Nashua, was indicted in federal court May 1 for attempting to fraudulently obtain over $1 million in CARES Act funding.
Dispensa was indicted on four counts of bank fraud, two counts of attempted wire fraud and two counts of money laundering, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Jane Young.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, although Dispensa had only one gym, he applied for CARES Act relief for two different corporate entities. Between 2020 and 2022, he sought four Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling over $413,000 and two Economic Injury and Disaster Loans totaling $650,000.
He allegedly provided false documents, including phony tax statements to banks and the Small Business Administration, inflating his company’s size and payroll. Because the loan was determined by payroll and number of employees, Dispensa secured larger loans than he was legally entitled to.
The indictment also accuses Dispensa of misusing at least some of the loan proceeds, including wiring $100,000 of one PPP loan’s proceeds to a personal brokerage account to purchase stock, including Tesla stock. He also allegedly used some of the proceeds of another PPP loan to purchase 10,000 shares of Ashford Hospitality Trust, a real estate investment trust.
It is the third Covid fraud-related case in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire.
The bank fraud charges provide for a prison sentence of up to 30 years and a fine of $1 million. Attempted wire fraud carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The charge of money laundering allows a prison sentence of up to 10 years, and a fine of twice the amount illegally gained.