Man allegedly used PPP loans to buy Lamborghini, clothes and jewelry
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A Florida man has been charged with bank fraud after lying about loan applications to help small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic and spending the money he received on luxury goods, including a Lamborghini, according to a criminal complaint reviewed by BuzzFeed News.
Federal prosecutors said David Tyler Hines, 29, had requested about $ 13.5 million in funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was created in March to provide small businesses with loans to pay employees during the pandemic. Congress approved $ 349 billion for the first round of PPP loans in March and more than $ 300 billion for a second round in April.
Hines claimed the funds were intended to pay employees at his companies, but U.S. postal inspectors said those employees either did not exist or only earned a fraction of the wages he claimed.
Despite this, Hines was approved for nearly $ 4 million in three repayable, low-interest PPP loans, which he then spent on personal expenses including clothing, jewelry, Miami beach resorts. , dating sites and a 2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo, which costs more. more than $ 318,000, prosecutors said.
Hines claimed in the claims that he was either the director or chairman of four separate Miami-based companies, for which he said he employed 70 people with monthly salary expenses of $ 4 million, according to the complaint. . But investigators said the state of Florida had no record of salaries paid to employees at any of Hines’ businesses between 2015 and the first quarter of 2020.
The complaint notes that reviews on the Better Business Bureau website were the only online evidence found for Hines’ businesses. Reviews for Promaster Movers, Inc. and We-Pack Moving LLC, both of which appeared to be moving service brokers. Both received BBB F ratings as well as complaints of “bait and trade practices” and “deceptive activities,” according to the complaint.
The complaint stated that Hines “never had the payroll obligations he claimed to have” and that after receiving PPP payments to a bank account affiliated with his companies, he “immediately diverted the loan proceeds for use. not allowed “.
Hines’ top spending in May and June included nearly $ 5,000 spent at Saks Fifth Avenue, $ 8,530 at a jewelry store, over $ 11,000 at several Miami hotels, and a total of $ 30,000 at a recipient. whom prosecutors called “mom.”
“There does not appear to be a business objective for more, if not all, of these expenses,” the complaint read.
Hines attorney Chad Piotrowski did not immediately return BuzzFeed News’ request for comment, but told CNN his client “is a legitimate business owner” who has “suffered financially during the pandemic.”
“While the allegations seem very serious, especially in light of the pandemic, David is eager to share his side of the story when the time comes,” Piotrowski added.
Hines faces charges of bank fraud, making a false statement to a credit union and engaging in transactions with illegal products. The first two counts each carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and up to $ 1,000,000 in fines if convicted.
Last week, Hines was filmed by WSVN-TV in Miami and cited by police for not wearing a face mask in public, for which he was issued a $ 100 bill.
While being fined, he complained to the station about the distribution of PPP loans.
“Every business has gone bankrupt,” he said. “The government, the treasury – they gave $ 2 trillion for PPP loans for small businesses. Eighty-five percent went to big business.”
Hines was previously arrested in 2018 after reporting that his girlfriend stole his Lamborghini, according to NBC Miami.