Feds: Fraudster Used PPP Funds To Buy Lamborghini (Not A Repeat From Last Week)

For the second time in a week, a businessman has been charged with fraudulently securing Paycheck Protection Program loans that were then used to purchase a Lamborghini.

Federal agents today arrested Lee Price, a 29-year-old convicted felon, in connection with a criminal complaint charging the Houston, Texas resident with bank fraud, wire fraud, and two other felonies.

According to investigators, Price filed a pair of fraudulent applications for PPP loans earmarked for businesses in need of emergency relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Price received a total of $1.6 million in PPP loans for two separate companies.

The applications submitted by Price, prosecutors allege, contended that the two firms had numerous employees and significant payroll expenses. The federal probe, however, determined that neither company “has employees nor pays wages consistent with the amounts claimed in loan applications.”

Instead of using the government funds for legitimate purposes, Price (seen at right) allegedly spent loan proceeds to buy a 2019 Lamborghini Urus for $233,000. He also allegedly spent PPP funds on a $14,000 Rolex watch, real estate transactions, clothing, liquor, and a new $85,000 Ford F-350 pickup truck. Additionally, some of the money covered Price’s tabs at Houston strip clubs and other nightspots.

In Price’s loan application for 713 Construction LLC, the 88-year-old man identified as the firm’s CEO had died a month before Price submitted the PPP application. The $752,452 loan, received from Harvest Small Business Finance, was purportedly intended to help retain 30 jobs.

The dead man whose name appears to have been appropriated owned a wine store in Cleveland, Ohio, and had “no known connection to 713 Construction,” according to a criminal complaint.

According to a U.S. Government database of PPP loan recipients, Price’s Price Enterprise Holdings LLC had two loans approved in late-June, one from Radius Bank (for between $350,000 and $1 million) and another from Customers Bank (for between $1 million and $2 million). While approved, the larger loan was not funded, prosecutors say.

According to Texas Secretary of State records, Price Enterprise Holdings was first licensed to do business in late-April.   

Price made his initial appearance this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Houston, where a magistrate judge ordered him locked up in advance of a detention hearing Thursday.

According to Texas state court records, Price is a "habitual offender" who has been convicted of robbery and forgery. He is currently facing charges in three separate state criminal cases (two involve his alleged tampering with government records, while he is accused in the third case of being a felon in possession of a firearm). In light of Price’s arrest on federal charges, state prosecutors today filed bond revocation motions in all three of his pending cases.  

On July 27, federal prosecutors announced the filing of felony fraud charges against David Hines, a Florida man who received nearly $4 million in PPP funds. Hines, 29, is accused of using $318,000 in loan proceeds to purchase  a 2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo.