While business owners across the country have struggled to make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis, local businessman Casey Crowther took criminal advantage of pandemic loans. WINK News looks back at how we found out about the misuse of funds and the trial that followed.
A series of wire transfers landed Casey David Crowther in trouble with the law. He purchased a brand new 40-foot Invincible catamaran and shared it all over social media. Records show Crowther asked for and got $2 million dollars from the federal government to help sustain Target Roofing & Sheet Metal in Fort Myers during the pandemic.
Crowther is accused of using nearly $690,000 from his Payroll Protection Program loan to buy the boat, which was eventually seized by the feds.
Other businesses in Southwest Florida haven’t had it easy with the Paycheck Protection Program.
“[It was] payroll for our staff, [it] paid our rent and our utilities,” said John Giaquinto, owner of Duval Street, a restaurant located at 4721 Vincennes Blvd. in Cape Coral. “We actually received half of what we asked for, which was very little, and we had to wait until the second round in order to get anything at all.”
“They could’ve kept people employed to buy food, pay their bills, pay their rent,” said Laurie Thomas, co-owner of the Clam Bake, a seafood restaurant located at 16520 South Tamiami Trail in Fort Myers. “I just… I can’t fathom that dishonesty.”
Casey Crowther has since been found guilty by a jury, and his customers now have questions. Crowther told them not to worry, that he had them and his workers covered. He told WINK that Target Roofing will operate as usual and the company will stay in his name.
But his name will remain tarnished to many fellow business owners.
“That’s horrible,” said Martin Drexler, owner of Wise Guys Deli at 2117 West First St. in Fort Myers. “That’s terrible. That’s horrible. [Theloan] was used for businesses to help people, to employ people.”
Lots of people are confusing Casey Crowther’s Target Roofing company with Crowther Roofing; it’s important to note that they are not connected in any way.