A Texas man will reportedly be facing more than nine years behind bars for a fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan application filed, CBS News reports.
To help small businesses stay afloat amidst the pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) offered PPP funds until May to remediate the financial turmoil many entrepreneurs faced. According to authorities, 30-year-old Lee Price III applied to two different financial institutions to obtain $1.6 million in funding, KHOU11 reports. In September, Price pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.
Prices’ plan was carried out by falsely representing the number of employees and payroll expenses of three businesses, CBS News reports. One of the applications claimed a small business had 50 employees with a monthly salary of $375,000. After further investigation from authorities, it was revealed the business had neither employees nor payroll or any evidence that the individuals had been hired.
The Justice Department Recovers $700,000 From Prices’ Scam
The Texas man’s scheme earned him $700,000 from one application and $900,000 from another company, neither had employees. Having a field day, Price spent the funds on a lavish $200,000 Lamborghini Urus, a Ford F-350 pickup, and a Rolex among other luxury items. Reportedly, Price also spent a combined $4,500 at Houston clubs and he allocated a portion of his earnings to pay a loan on a residential property.
While Price was staying busy, so was the Justice Department, which recovered over $700,000 of the funds. Price was sentenced to nine years and two months on Monday, Nov. 29 for the scam.
This is not Price’s first run-in with the law. A criminal complaint reveals that the Texas man was convicted in 2010 for forgery and for robbery in 2011. He is also currently an active defendant in a criminal case where he is facing accusations of tampering with a government record, CBS News reports.