Last week, Miami businessman David T. Hines was charged with three felonies after fraudulently taking the Paycheck Protection Program for nearly $4 million, then proceeding to buy a $318,000 Lamborghini.
Not to be outdone, a 29-year-old Houston man obtained about $1.6 million from the PPP for a pair of companies. Lee Price III then used the money to buy a Rolex, a 2020 Ford F-350 pickup — starts around $36,000 — and a Lamborghini Urus ... though only a $200,000 Lambo.
He also dropped money on real estate, as well as thousands at strip clubs and other night clubs. I suppose that once you aspire to a certain level of fraud, you apply the go-big-or-go-home mentality to all things.
According to the Department of Justice, Price was charged with making false statements to a financial institution, wire fraud, bank fraud and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.
According to unsealed documents, Price received funding for two fraudulent applications. Price Enterprises Holdings, an investment company, allegedly received more than $900,000. Another loan, for commercial builder 713 Construction, was approved for more than $700,000. The applications stated that both companies had numerous employees and significant payroll expenses. According to the charges, however, neither has employees nor pays wages consistent with the amounts claimed in the applications.
What is also suspicious is that the person listed as CEO on the 713 Construction loan application died in April, a month before the application was submitted.
The DOJ stresses that federal criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Price is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.