HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A Texas man is accused of fraudulently obtaining more than $1.6 million in COVID-19 relief funds and spending it on items such as a Lamborghini and at strip clubs, the Department of Justice said.
Officials said Lee Price III, 29, of Houston is charged with false statements to a financial institution, wire fraud, bank fraud and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.READ MORE: Dallas Fugitive Alberto Mendoza Is 1 Of 2 On Texas Most Wanted List Recently Captured
According to the department, Price allegedly submitted fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications, which are used for small business loans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: 'There Really Are Problems Everywhere,' Even For Small Companies
The department said two of Price’s applications received funding that totaled about $1.6 million. However, the two businesses he received funding for did not have employees nor pay wages that were stated in the applications, according to the charges.
Price is accused of using the funds on “lavish personal purchases,” such as a Lamborghini Urus, a Rolex watch and real estate. He also allegedly spent the money at strip and night clubs in Houston.MORE NEWS: College Towns In Texas And Across U.S. Plan Challenge To 2020 Census Results
“The PPP allows qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of one percent. 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,” the Justice Department said.