Man Sentenced to Over 9 Years in Prison After Spending Fraudulently Obtained PPP Funds on Luxury Items

Stacks of fanned out $100 billsStacks of fanned out $100 bills
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Lee Price was sentenced to 9 years in prison for committing fraud, and the Department of Justice was able to retrieve only some of the fraudulently obtained funds.

A Texas man has been sentenced to over nine years in prison due to PPP fraud.

Lee Price III, 30, was found guilty of fraudulently obtaining over $1.6 million in funds through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to a statement released by the Department of Justice.

The PPP is the government’s program to financially help small businesses as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

According to the authorities, over 150 defendants in at least 95 different criminal cases have been prosecuted over fraudulently obtained PPP funds since the start of the CARES Act, leading to the seizure of over $75 million. 

According to the statements released by the Department of Justice, Price submitted separate loan applications to at least two different lenders for three entities — 713 Construction LLC, Price Enterprises Holdings LLC, and Price Logistic Services LLC — with an ultimate goal of gaining at least $2.6 million. 

The Texas man was able to acquire the $1.6 million by asserting that he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on monthly payroll, according to the criminal complaint

This included the claim that Price Enterprises had an average monthly payroll of $375,000 and 50 employees.

However, according to the criminal complaint, the businesses have no employees, no payroll expenses, and there is no indication that anyone has ever been employed with the businesses.

According to CNN, ​​the Houston resident applied for one of the loans using the name of an Ohio resident who had died shortly before the application was submitted.

Price also submitted fraudulent tax records, according to the outlet.  

According to authorities, Price spent the money he acquired to buy a Lamborghini Urus, a Ford F-350, and a Rolex watch in addition to more than $4,500 on strip and night club tabs, over $700 on liquor, and to pay off a home loan. 

Price pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering in September, according to the authorities.

Not all of the money Price spent was able to be recovered, but over $700,000 of the funds have been retrieved, according to the Justice Department.

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