LOS ANGELES – A Texas man has been arrested for obtaining more than $ 1.6 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans, which he spent on “luxury goods, real estate and personal entertainment.” according to the US Department of Justice.
An August 4 DOJ press release said Lee Price III was allegedly involved in part of a plan to submit fraudulent PPP loan applications to banks and other federally insured lenders.
The PPP program, part of the broader Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) enacted in March, was designed to help keep small businesses afloat for the economic uncertainty triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
The program resumed accepting new applications on July 6, with August 8 being the current deadline to apply for a PPP loan, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The DOJ said two of the approved fraudulent loan applications described entities that allegedly “have large numbers of employees and significant salary expenses.”
“However, no entity has employees or pays salaries corresponding to the amounts claimed in loan applications,” the DOJ said.
The 29-year-old is said to have used the money received from the loans for personal purchases such as a Lamborghini Urus, a Ford F-350, a Rolex watch and real estate transactions. Price is also said to have spent thousands of dollars on P3s at strip clubs and nightclubs in Houston.
“Price is accused of making false statements to a financial institution, electronic fraud, bank fraud and engaging in illegal money transactions,” according to the DOJ, which noted that Price was scheduled to appear for the first time. times before US trial judge Sam S. Sheldon in Houston on Tuesday.
This is not the first time that someone has been accused of alleged misuse and fraudulent use of PPP funds.
In a similar case in July, David T. Hines, a Miami resident, was indicted after federal officials claimed he used P3 funds to purchase a Lamborghini.
In May, the head of a Hollywood production and distribution company was indicted after he allegedly attempted to fraudulently obtain $ 1.7 million in PPP funds.