The Department of Justice announced charges against a 29-year-old Houston man, accused of defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for more than $1.6 million. He allegedly used the cash to make an assortment of extravagant purchases including a Lamborghini Urus and entertainment at strip clubs.
Lee Price has been arrested and charged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas with making false statements to financial institutions, wire and back fraud, and making illegal financial transactions after his alleged scheme was discovered by investigators.
Court documents say Price is a convicted robber and forger, and has charges pending against him in Harris County for other crimes.
He is accused of making bogus applications to several financial institutions using false information, but authorities say only two of them were ultimately paid to Price.
The criminal complaint affidavit alleges that Price used his father’s Social Security number and identification to apply to a bank in Massachusetts for $937,500 worth of PPP funding, claiming to have a company with 50 employees called Price Enterprises.
Investigators say Price spent the loan on expensive lifestyle purchases including a Lamborghini Urus, a Rolex watch, food, entertainment, and alcohol. He also spent money at strip clubs, night clubs, and two $100,000 purchases on real estate and a business office lease.
Price is also accused of using a deceased Ohio wine shop owner’s name and address on another application to a lender in California on behalf of a fake company called 713 Construction.
A loan of $752,452 was paid to Price, part of which the government says he used to rent a high-dollar apartment in downtown Houston and to purchase a Ford F-350 truck with the help of an accomplice.
Anyone who suspects coronavirus relief fraud is encouraged to report it to the federal government on this online form or by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.