Business

Montana steakhouse owner admits he used $75,000 in COVID-19 relief money to buy a classic car

He took the highway to prison.

A Montana steakhouse owner has pleaded guilty to misusing COVID-19 relief money he received for his restaurant to buy several vintage cars – including a 1916 Studebaker.

Prosecutors said Michael Bolte, 70, who runs Feedlot Steakhouse in Shepherd, Montana, received a $75,000 disaster relief loan from the Small Business Administration in May 2020, but instead used cash to buy four classic cars.

SBA disaster loans are only supposed to be used as working capital for a business.

However, Bolte allegedly negotiated since February of that year to buy several used cars from a property because he saw them as an investment opportunity, prosecutors said.

Eleven days after Bolte received a government check for his restaurant, he bought four cars from the property for $75,000. Vehicles include a Studebaker, a 1929 Franklin, a 1939 Ford Deluxe and a 1941 Ford Super Deluxe.

“Federal programs, like the one in question here, don’t work when people cheat,” said Leif Johnson, US Attorney for Montana. “If someone like Bolte applied for federal program funds aimed at helping businesses survive the pandemic, but instead bought classic cars, that would deprive those who filed the funds from the fund. other worthy application.”

Lawyers for Bolte were not immediately available for comment.

Bolte opened Feedlot Steakhouse – a 4,600 square foot restaurant, bar and casino modeled like a wooden cabin – in 1997. He continued the family tradition, when his grandfather opened the first A&W restaurant. first in Missoula, Montana in the early days. The 1950s.

As part of his plea, Bolte agreed to confiscate the vehicles for the government. He faces a year in federal prison and a $100,000 fine when he is sentenced in April.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/montana-steakhouse-owner-admits-using-covid-relief-money-to-buy-vintage-cars-11637704261?rss=1&siteid=rss Montana steakhouse owner admits he used $75,000 in COVID-19 relief money to buy a classic car

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