By David Mercer |SkyNews|
David T Hines tried to obtain around $13.5m (£10.5m) in loans from America’s Paycheck Protection Programme, prosecutors say.
A man has been accused of fraudulently obtaining nearly $4m (£3.1m) in coronavirus relief loans and using some of the money to buy a Lamborghini sports car.
David T Hines was arrested and charged last week with bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds, the US Department of Justice said.
Authorities seized a $318,000 (£246,000) Lamborghini Huracan and $3.4m (£2.6m) from bank accounts at the time of the arrest.
Feds say David Hines used nearly $4 million in coronavirus relief funds to buy a Lamborghini and spent thousands on dating sites and fancy hotels in Miami. Lamborghini seized, bank account forzen. Atty says he has legit business. House arrest with mom until October arraignment. pic.twitter.com/fnAaPjLGPv
— Lauren Pozen WSB (@LaurenPozenWSB) July 28, 2020
It is alleged that 29-year-old Hines, from Miami, Florida, tried to obtain around $13.5m (£10.5m) in loans from America’s Paycheck Protection Programme on behalf of different companies.
Fraudulent loan applications were submitted that made false and misleading statements about the companies’ payroll expenses, prosecutors allege.
Hines was approved and given about $3.9m (£3m) in loans, it is claimed.
Prosecutors say that within days of receiving the funds, Hines bought a 2020 Lamborghini Huracan sports car, which he registered jointly in his name and the name of one of his companies.
He also made purchases at luxury retailers and resorts in Miami Beach in the following days and weeks, while failing to make payroll payments that he claimed on his loan applications, it is alleged.
Following his arrest and charges, Hines was granted a $100,000 bond by a magistrate judge and will be allowed to stay at his mother’s home with a GPS monitor, according to the Miami Herald.
He is reportedly due to appear in court on 14 October.
Defence lawyer Chad Piotrowski said Hines is a legitimate business owner who is anxious to tell his side of the story.
The Paycheck Protection Programme has handed out billions of dollars in small business loans for Americans struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which became federal law in March.
The US has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, with more than 4.2 million infections.
More than 148,000 people have died with COVID-19 in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the outbreak.
US President Donald Trump announced last week that he was calling off the Republican convention planned in Florida next month due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the state.