A 30-year-old Texas man will spend the better part of the next decade behind bars after spending Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans on everything but paychecks. Police caught Lee Price III of Houston submitting fraudulent PPP loan applications with false information. He then used that money to buy a Lamborghini Urus, a Ford F-350, and other stuff not approved under the program.
According to the US Department of Justice, Price initially sought $2.6 million in federal COVID relief funds by misrepresenting the number of employees and payroll expenses on behalf of three entities. He only received $1.6 million. However, his scheme went deeper than just fraudulent applications, going as far as to use a dead man’s name on one. The person had died a month before Price submitted it. Price also filed fraudulent tax records to support his scheme.
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Price, who pleaded guilty in September to wire fraud and money laundering charges, also spent the money on a Rolex watch and to pay off a residential property loan. He will spend the next 110 months in prison. Federal law enforcement officials seized over $700,000 that Price had fraudulently obtained. The funds were set aside for businesses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to cover payroll costs, interest on mortgages, utilities, and rent. It was designed to assist businesses struggling during the pandemic
Price isn’t the first person who has ended up in prison for misusing COVID relief funds. A Florida man was sentenced earlier this year to more than six years behind bars for spending $318,000 of $3.6 million on a 2020 Lamborghini Huracan. Sadly, this won’t be the last PPP-related case tied to fraud, as a quick internet search reveals countless news stories from the previous few weeks of people around the country facing various fraud charges. You can’t lie to the government.