Florida man accused of lying for $3.9 million in COVID loans

Florida man arrested for allegedly using $3.9M in COVID-19 small business aid money to buy Lamborghini

Hines, 29, of Miami, was arrested and charged last week with bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds. The program was created by the CARES Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump in March as a means of protecting the economy from total collapse due to the economic impact of the shutdowns imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The statement also said that authorities had seized the Lamborghini Huracan sports auto worth US$318,000, and a total of US$3.4 million. The PPP loans are forgiven by the government if they are properly used by businesses.

Miami law enforcement impounded the auto, which federal prosecutors now strategy to seize.

Federal investigators linked the Lamborghini to Hines, who appeared in Miami federal court on fraud and other charges Monday, after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident July 11.

"Businesses must use PPP loan proceeds for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities", according to the DOJ.

Hines allegedly sought roughly $13.5 million in PPP loans, writing fraudulent loan applications on behalf of several companies.

The New York Times reported that Hines claimed that he operated four companies with dozens of employees with about $4 million in monthly expenses. He received about $3.9 million in loans, and blew about $500,000 of that before the government began investigating and his bank froze his accounts. But prosecutors say the Florida Department of Revenue had no record of wages paid to any of the companies from 2015 through the first quarter of 2020. Hines' arraignment is scheduled for October 14.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Berger said certain SBA loan scammers have been able to exploit the Payroll Protection Program because while the federal agency is guaranteeing the COVID-19 relief loans issued by banks for eligible small businesses, it is not bothering to check any of the claims in their applications.

In the days and weeks pursuing the disbursement of Paycheck Protection System funds, the justice office criticism alleges that Hines did not make payroll payments, but he did make buys at luxury suppliers and resorts in Miami Beach.



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