A Texas man who fraudulently obtained $1.6 million in Covid-19 relief funds and then spent it on luxury items, has been sentenced to 110 months in prison.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Lee Price III, 30, of Houston, pleaded guilty in September to money laundering and wire fraud charges.
Price Submitted Fraudulent PPP Applications
He was accused of submitting two separate fraudulent loan applications from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), meant for small businesses to help them stay afloat in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Price received $700,000 for one application and another $900,000 on behalf of another company, according to the charges. One of the applications listed a CEO who had died a month before it was submitted. In the paperwork, he also fudged payroll expenses and the number of employees working at the businesses.
Price Spent the Money on Lamborghini, Rolex, Strip Club Joints
The DOJ did not state in what capacity Price worked for these companies or how he was connected to them. Price then spent the money on a $200,000 Lamborghini Uras, a Ford F-350 pickup, a Rolex and other luxury items. The spending spree also included trips to Houston strip joints and nightclubs.
The feds say they seized about $700,000 in goods and cash from Price, who has a long rap sheet in Houston dating back to 2007 when he was a teenager.
Price's sentencing is just the latest in a series of busts aimed at cracking down on fraudulent practices relating to PPP funds. Led by the DOJ's Fraud Section, the agency has brought charges against more than 150 defendants in 95 criminal cases since the start of the pandemic relief program, resulting in over $75 million in funds directly obtained from false loan applications.
Last year, a Massachusetts man faked his own death to avoid federal charges of fraud after fraudulently obtaining forgivable loans amounting to $438,500, claiming to own businesses that were impacted by the pandemic, as previously reported.