Daniel Stonebarger, who used $883,000 in pandemic relief funds for jewelry, travel and more, is headed to federal prison

A Highlands Ranch man has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for defrauding COVID-19 relief funds totaling more than $883,000.

Daniel Stonebarger, 50, was sentenced on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Denver, according to a Friday news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Colorado.

“This defendant took money that was supposed to be used to provide emergency financial assistance to small businesses and individuals suffering adverse economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan, in the release. “Prosecuting pandemic fraud is a priority of the Department of Justice and an ongoing focus for investigators here in Colorado.”

Between April 5, 2020, and June 10, 2020, Stonebarger submitted numerous fraudulent applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Grants (EIDLs and EIDGs), and Paycheck Protection Program loans (PPP) through the Small Business Administration (SBA), the release said.

“The defendant used new and existing business names to apply for these loans, and falsified creation dates of businesses, numbers of employees, revenues, and costs,” according to the release. These fraudulently obtained funds totaled $855,252.

Stonebarger also filed a fraudulent claim with Colorado Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and illegally collected $28,142 from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).

Stonebarger used the ill-gotten gains on various purchases including plastic surgery for a relative, weight loss, jewelry, travel, a Peloton, and travel and resort expenses.

U.S. District Court Judge Raymond P. Moore ordered Stonebarger to pay $794,462 in restitution to the SBA and $28,142 to the CDLE, the release said. He’ll serve three years of supervised release after his prison term.

The Denver Division of the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. attorneys Martha A. Paluch, Sarah H. Weiss, and Tonya S. Andrews prosecuted the case.

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