A 29-year old man from Florida has been arrested on charges of misusing large amounts of COVID-19 aid money, nearly $4 million, for personal luxuries that include a brand-new Lamborghini sports car. The person is now facing charges of fraud and illegal transactions that could send him to prison for multiple decades.
David T Hines applied for loans as a businessman from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a federal scheme launched by the United States Congress to provide loans to businesses struggling due to the wide-ranging effects of Coronavirus pandemic. The main thrust of the scheme is to prevent businesses from relieving their employees or not paying them their salary.
Hines claimed to have 70 employees under him, working in four different companies. He claimed to require around $4 million per month for running these companies. As a result, an amount of $3,984,557 was loaned to him under the PPP scheme. But this did not satiate the appetite of the young man who requested close to 13-and-a-half million dollars more in loans.
This led to an inquiry into his accounts by the authorities which revealed that Hines was splurging his money to enjoy a life of unbridled luxury since receiving the loans. He purchased a Lamborghini Huracán worth $318,497, possibly enjoyed a vacation in a high-end Miami hotel to which he paid $7,000, and probably, bought jewelry worth $8,500.
On top of that, the inquiry also revealed that the monthly expenses of running Hines' businesses is around $200,000, a fraction of what he had claimed in his applications. Obviously, the sports car, jewelry, and hotel stay that he purchased don't seem to have any link with his company's functioning.
According to the New York Times, what makes the case of the 29-year old seem even worse is the fact that his companies are, apparently, in a state of disrepair. They don't have any websites and are blighted by a very bad reputation among those who have associated with it.
However, the businessman hasn't given up the fight. His lawyer is claiming that eventually, all the expenses will be shown to be justified. The lawyer claims that his client is "a legitimate business owner who, like millions of Americans, suffered financially during the (Coronavirus) pandemic."