A US man has been charged after using COVID-19 relief funds for personal gain, after he was caught using the funds to purchase a sports car.
The Miami, Florida man had obtained US$3.9 million (AUD$5.4 million) in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans provided through the Act enacted on March 29.
29-year-old David Hines was charged by criminal complaint which alleged that Hines sought approximately US$13.5 million (AUD$18.8 million) in PPP loans through applications to an insured financial institution on behalf of different companies.
The complaint alleged that Hines submitted fraudulent loan applications that made false and misleading statements about the companies’ payroll expenses.
It further alleged that within days of receiving the funds, Hines purchased a 2020 Lamborghini Huracan sports car for approximately US$318,000 (AUD$444,204), registering it jointly in his name and the name of one of his companies.
The complaint alleged that in the days and weeks after the funds were released, Hines did not make payroll payments that he claimed on loan applications, but made purchases at luxury retailers and resorts in Miami Beach.
Hines was charged with bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provides up to US$349 billion (AUD$4.873 billion) in loans to small business to retain jobs along with other expenses.