Bayville Adventure Park Owner Pleads Guilty to Multi-Million Dollar Covid Relief Fraud

bayville adventure park
Bayville Adventure Park (also known as Bayville Scream Park during the ghoulish month and Bayville Winter Wonderland during the winter season), is a popular amusement park on Bayville Avenue in Bayville. (Photo by Jennifer A. Uihlein)

Bayville Adventure Park Owner Pleads Guilty to Multi-Million Dollar Covid Relief Fraud

The owner of Bayville Adventure Park has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and disaster relief fraud for receiving millions in Covid-19 pandemic small business loans and allegedly using them to buy a house, according to Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Donald Finley, 61, of Locust Valley, who also owned the now-defunct Jekyll & Hyde restaurant in Manhattan, pleaded guilty at the federal courthouse in Central Islip on Thursday. He faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 8. He could also be forced to pay up to $3.2 million in restitution and a fine of up to $1.25 million.

“Finley has admitted diverting millions of dollars in Covid-19 disaster relief funds to finance his personal expenses, including the purchase of a home in Nantucket, Massachusetts,” Peace said in a statement. “This office will continue investigating and prosecuting those, like the defendant, who shamelessly steal from government programs that were intended for struggling small businesses and families during the pandemic.”

According to the court filings, Finley fraudulently applied for and received 29 loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDLP) between March 2020 and March 2021. He received about $3.2 million and used the money to purchase a Nantucket home in February 2021.

The PPP and EIDLP were designed to assist struggling small business owners with business expenses as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

United States Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay presided over the case. Assistant United States Attorney Mark E. Misorek prosecuted the case, and the defendant’s lawyer is Christopher Ferguson, of Manhattan.

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