US man uses Paycheck Protection Program for COVID-19 relief funds to buy Lamborghini
By Vivek Raj | Galatta | Aug 05, 2020, 12:32 pm
A man in Texas, United States, earned a slower ride to jail on Tuesday after authorities arrested him for embezzlement of $1.6 million in COVID-19 relief funds provided by the government. Instead of diverting the money for the purpose he had claimed it for, Lee Price III, 29, went on a spending spree and reportedly bought a $200,000 Lamborghini Urus on the US government's pandemic aid.
Lee Price III has been charged with fraud after he secured two loans under the government's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Department of Justice (DoJ) issued a statement saying he had made a claim for the COVID-19 relief funds in order to pay employees he did not have.
Rather than diverting the coronavirus relief funds for the purpose he had claimed it for, he had spent it on purchasing lavish goods such as a sports car and a Rolex watch, while also investing in real estate and an F-350 pickup truck. He is also said to have frequented strip clubs in Houston where he has spent thousands of dollars, the statement further said.
Lee Price III had managed to secure two loans under the Paycheck Protection Program which include Price Enterprises Holdings allegedly acquiring funds of more than $900,000, while over $700,000 was approved for a 713 Construction. However, none of the firms are said to have employees and "the individual listed as CEO on the 713 Construction loan application died in April 2020, a month before the application was submitted", a complaint stated.
The United States Congress gave its approval for the PPP program in late March as a means to provide small businesses a financial means to sustain during the coronavirus pandemic. Loans are granted under the program, which could be forgiven in case they were used to pay for wages, rent and utilities.
More than 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths for the ninth day in a row were reported in the US on Tuesday, pushing the death toll past 153,000. The United States continues to be the worst-affected nation in comparison to all other nations with a tally of more than 4.7 million COVID-19 positive infections. Having said that, there has been a considerable drop witnessed in the country in the number of fresh cases being reported in recent days.