A Texas entrepreneur has been accused of misusing $1.6 million from the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Lee Price III, a 29-year-old from Houston, spent the money on luxury items, such as real estate, a Lamborghini sports car, a Rolex watch and strip clubs, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Price is facing charges of making false statements to a financial institution, wire fraud, bank fraud and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.
He allegedly applied to the PPP for two businesses that he claimed had several employees, receiving $900,000 and $700,000 in stimulus funding. Prosecutors found that Price lied about the payroll expenses of both companies, one of which was under the name of somebody who died in April.
The PPP program was created by Congress in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act and provides forgivable loans to businesses who use the money to continue paying workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week the DOJ announced it arrested a man in Florida on similar charges.
David Hines, 29, of Miami, is accused of fraudulently obtaining $4 million in PPP funding and using some of it to buy a Lamborghini.
As lawmakers negotiate the next round of stimulus spending — which will likely include a replenishment of the PPP program — some lawmakers have called for safeguards to prevent fraud in larger loans while also disbursing the funds quickly.