A man from Houston, who had scammed $1.6 million in COVID relief funds and spent it on a Lamborghini and strippers, was sentenced to nine years in prison on Monday.
Lee Price III, 30, had spent the money from the relief fund on luxury items such as a Lamborghini, a Ford F-350 pickup truck, a Rolex watch and even at a strip club.
Price had pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and money laundering in September after he applied for loans with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
A Houston man was sentenced to nine years in prison for using money he got from Covid-19 relief funds to buy cars and a watch and to pay off a home loan, the Justice Department announced. https://t.co/u8tte0qShL— CNN (@CNN) December 1, 2021
Federal authorities have since seized $700,000 worth of Price's money and expensive goods.
'Mr. Price hopes that others will learn from his reckoning that there is no easy money,' Price's attorney Tom Berg said in an email to the Washington Post.
'He has the balance of the 110-month sentence to reflect, repent and rebuild his misspent life.'
He had filed applications to two different lenders with 713 Construction LLC, Price Enterprises Holdings LLC, and Price Logistic Services LLC.
On the application, he had falsely claimed the number of employees he had working for his business in addition to their payroll taxes.
Price had also requested $2.6 million on the loan application before receiving $1.6 million.
The CEOs of one of the businesses, whose name Price had used in the scheme, died a month before the application was submitted.
Using the funds, Price purchased a $233,000 Lamborghini Urus, an $85,000 Ford F-350 pickup truck and a $14,000 Rolex. He had also spent thousands of dollars at nightclubs and strip clubs.
His criminal record spans 14 years, KHOU revealed, with a grid of mugshots telling the tale of the conman's prior arrests.
Price is not the first person to take advantage of the COVID relief fund system.
The PPP designed under the CARES Act was meant to financially support small businesses and their employees who had been affected by the pandemic.
The US Justice Department's Fraud Division has since prosecuted over 150 defendants in more than 95 criminal cases and have seized over $75 million from fraudulent funds, according to their press release.
Georgia man Vinath Oudomsine, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud after he had lied to the Small Business Administration to obtain an $85,000 relief loan.
Oudomsine had blown two-third of the loan on a $57,789 Pokemon card after lying on an application with the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).
He had claimed on the application that he had 10 employees and the annual gross revenue of his 'business' was $235,000.
His plea subjects him to the maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.