US

Florida Man Who Bought $320K Lamborghini With Coronavirus Relief Funds Is Charged With Fraud

Shutterstock

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

The owner of a Florida moving company was arrested Monday and charged with using coronavirus relief funds to purchase personal items, including a $320,000 Lamborghini.

David Hines, 29, was charged with fraudulently obtaining a $3.9 million loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, which Congress passed to help small business owners pay employees and rent due to economic setbacks from the coronavirus pandemic.

A criminal complaint filed in federal court in Miami says that Hines claimed he had 70 employees at four different companies and paid more than $4 million in payroll each month.

Hines applied for $13.5 million in loans overall, according to an affidavit from Bryan Masmela, a U.S. Postal Inspector.

According to Masmela, Hines lied about his company’s payroll needs and used the loan proceeds to purchase the sports car, a vacation, jewelry, and clothes. Bank statements show that Hines made several cash withdrawals just under $10,000. He also wrote checks to several individuals, including $30,000 to someone referred to as “Mom.” (RELATED: Millions In Coronavirus Relief Loans Went To Chinese Real Estate Firm At Center Of FBI Bribery Probe)

US President Donald Trump speaks after signing the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 24, 2020. With trump are (L-R) US Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, US Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, Administrator of the Small Business Administration Jovita Carranza and House Minority Leader, Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy of California. - The $483 billion stimulus act will back small businesses on the brink of bankruptcy, and allocate more money for health-care providers and virus testing. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump speaks after signing the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 24, 2020.  (OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Masmela said Hines had “little to no” payroll expenses.

Authorities seized the sports car and $3.4 million in Hines’s bank account, the Justice Department said in a statement announcing the charges.

The Justice Department has said it will crack down on fraud in the PPP program. Congress approved nearly $350 billion in low-interest loans to small businesses to cover payroll costs and other overhead expenses. Businesses have two years to pay off the loans, and some can have loans forgiven altogether if they are spent within a certain period of time.

The Governmental Accountability Office warned in a report on June 25 that PPP loans were likely to be a major source of fraud given. The agency said “the limited safeguards and lack of timely and complete guidance and oversight planning have increased the likelihood that borrowers may misuse or improperly receive loan proceeds.”

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.