A Florida man is facing charges after authorities say he fraudulently obtained $3.9 million in federal loans meant for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and used it to buy a Lamborghini and other personal expenses.
David Tyler Hines, 29, of Miami was charged Monday with bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds, according to a copy of the criminal complaint.
Authorities said Hines, in all, requested approximately $13.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. He submitted seven loan applications in May, which contained “numerous false and misleading statements” about his alleged moving companies’ respective payroll expenses.
He claimed that his four companies paid millions in payroll during the first quarter of 2020, though state and bank records show that his companies had little to no payroll expense during this period, Postal Inspector Bryan Masmela said in the complaint.
“Those purported employees either did not exist or earned a fraction of what Hines claimed in his PPP applications,” stated Masmela, who also noted that authorities were unable to find any record of operating websites linked to Hines’ businesses.
Hines’ loan request was ultimately approved, however, and he was given $3.9 million, which within days he began spending, authorities said.
Hines’ spending spree allegedly included the purchase of a 2020 Lamborghini Huracan sports car, for approximately $318,000. He also made thousands of dollars in payments to dating websites, jewellery stores and luxury clothing retailers, as well as to Miami Beach resorts. Two payments totalling $30,000 were also documented as going to “mom,” according to the criminal complaint.
The bank accounts listed as belonging to his moving companies were closed on June 24 and $3.4 million was seized from the accounts at the time of his Friday arrest, authorities said.
“Businesses must use PPP loan proceeds for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities,” the Department of Justice said in a release announcing Hines’ charges. “The PPP allows the interest and principal to be forgiven if businesses spend the proceeds on these expenses within a set time period and use at least a certain percentage of the loan towards payroll expenses.”
An attorney for Hines, in a statement to The Washington Post, defended him as a “legitimate business owner who, like millions of Americans, suffered financially during the pandemic.”
“While the allegations appear very serious, especially in light of the pandemic, David is anxious to tell his side of the story when the time comes,” said attorney Chad Piotrowski.
Hines’ Lamborghini purchase was discovered by investigators earlier this month after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident involving the vehicle on July 11, the Miami Herald reported.
The Lamborghini was linked back to Hines and impounded by Miami police, the Herald reported.
Hines was released Monday on a $100,000 bond during his first court appearance. He is being allowed to stay at his mother’s home with a GPS monitor. His next arraignment is scheduled for October 14, the Herald reported.
Piotrowski declined to comment when reached by HuffPost.