Dec. 1, 2021 -- A Texas man accused of using federal COVID relief funds on a Lamborghini and visits to strip clubs was sentenced Monday to more than nine years in prison, the U.S. Justice Department says.
Lee Price III, 30, of Houston applied for $2.6 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program and actually received $1.6 million, the Justice Department said in a news release.
He misrepresented the number of employees and payroll expenses in the loan applications, submitted fraudulent tax records, and in one case applied for a loan in the name of a dead person, the release said.
“After he received the PPP loan funds, Price spent the money on, among other purchases, a Lamborghini Urus, a Ford F-350 truck, a Rolex watch, and to pay off a loan on a residential property. The Department of Justice, along with law enforcement partners, seized over $700,000 of the funds Price fraudulently obtained,” the news release said.
Price pleaded guilty in September to charges of wire fraud and money laundering. He was sentenced Monday in federal court to 110 months in prison.
“Mr. Price hopes that others will learn from his reckoning that there is no easy money,” said the defendant’s lawyer, Tom Berg, according to the Associated Press. “He has the balance of the 110-month sentence to reflect, repent and rebuild his misspent life.”
Paycheck Protection Program loans are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The federal government has prosecuted more than 150 people for illegally obtaining money under the CARES Act and seized more than $75 million in cash proceeds, along with real estate and luxury items, the release said.