The Department of Justice sentenced a Texas man to over nine years in prison for stealing $1.6 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds, according to the DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs. KPRC reports the man, 30-year-old Lee Price III, used the hefty amount of money on lavish purchases like a Lamborghini, a Rolex watch, and expensive visits to strip clubs. Price pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and money laundering in September after his fraudulent PPP loan applications, which he applied to by using the name of someone who passed away shortly before. He allegedly gave fake employee numbers, payroll expenses, tax records, and other illicit materials. The DOJ and law enforcement partners obtained over $700,000 in PPP loan funds.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), established by the CARES Act, was designed to help small businesses maintain their payrolls as the pandemic shrunk the economy.