A man in the US who took a coronavirus loan spent the amount on luxury items including a Lamborghini sports car. The man has been arrested and charged in a Miami Federal Court, the US Justice Department (DOJ) announced.
A man, identified as David T. Hines of Miami, Florida received nearly $4 million in federal loans intended to help struggling businesses — but spent the money on a new Lamborghini Huracán sports car and other items.
Hines was arrested and charged with 3 felonies, officials said. Authorities seized a $318,000 sports car and $3.4 million from bank accounts at the time of arrest.
The 29-year-old man was charged with one count of bank fraud, one count of making false statements to a financial institution and one count of engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds, according to a report published in the DOJ website.
“The complaint alleges that Hines sought approximately $13.5 million in PPP loans through applications to an insured financial institution on behalf of different companies. The complaint alleges that Hines caused to be submitted fraudulent loan applications that made numerous false and misleading statements about the companies’ respective payroll expenses,” the report said.
After his application, the agency approved a disbursal of nearly $3.9 million in loans. Upon receiving the enormous amount, the complaint says that Hines did not make payments to his company’s payroll of 70 employees. He made purchases at luxury retailers and resorts in Miami Beach and within days bought the new Lamborghini, which he registered jointly in his name and in the name of one of his companies.
However, according to a New York Times report, Hines’s lawyer, Chad Piotrowski, defended him and in a statement said that his client was “a legitimate business owner who, like millions of Americans, suffered financially during the pandemic” and “is anxious to tell his side of the story when the time comes.”
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) represents billions of dollars in forgivable small business loans for Americans struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which became federal law in March.
Businesses must use PPP loan proceeds for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. The PPP allows the interest and principal to be forgiven if businesses spend the proceeds on these expenses within a set time period and use at least a certain percentage of the loan towards payroll expenses.
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