Lee Price III, a 30-year old man from Houston, Texas who was convicted of fraudulently acquiring over $1.6 million in funds through the government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), has been sentenced to 9 years and 2 months in prison.
Price reportedly pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering. According to authorities, he submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications to 2 different lenders to try getting more than $2.6 million for 3 small businesses.
He managed to obtain more than $1.6 million after he falsely declared the number of employees and payroll expenses for 3 businesses. For instance, he said one of the small businesses had 50 employees and an average monthly payroll of $375,000. But authorities found that the business had no employees and no payroll.
Another loan application was made in the name of a person who died a few days before Price submitted it. What’s more, he submitted fake tax documentation and other materials.
Price apparently used the funds he claimed to purchase luxury items such as a Lamborghini Urus, a Ford F-350 truck, and a Rolex watch. Some of the money went to his debts and he also spent $2,000 at a strip club, more than $2,500 at nightclubs, and more than $700 at a liquor store.
The Department of Justice said it was able to seize $700,000 of the funds that Price fraudulently claimed. More than 160 defendants in over 95 similar fraud cases have been prosecuted with over $75 million in cash having been seized by authorities.