Defendant Spent the Loan Money on Personal Expenses, Including a Lamborghini, a Truck, and a Rolex Watch
A Texas man pleaded guilty Monday to fraudulently obtaining more than $1.6 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
According to court documents, Lee Price III, 30, of Houston, submitted two fraudulent PPP loan applications to two different lenders on behalf of entities 713 Construction LLC and Price Enterprises Holdings LLC.
The 713 Construction LLC PPP loan application was made in the name of an individual who died shortly before the application was submitted.
Price pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 29 and is facing up to 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud and 10 years in prison for each count of money laundering.
Through these two PPP loan applications, Price sought and obtained over $1.6 million in PPP loan funds.
To support the fraudulent PPP applications, Price also submitted fraudulent tax records and other materials. After he received the PPP loan funds, Price spent the money on a Lamborghini Urus, a Ford F-350 truck, and a Rolex watch, and to pay off a loan on a residential property, among other purchases.
Price falsely represented the number of employees and payroll expenses in each of the PPP loan applications.
The Department of Justice, along with law enforcement partners, seized over $700,000 of the disbursed PPP funds in this matter.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across the government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.