MIAMI, FL – According to reports, a businessman from Miami, Florida received a six-year prison sentence Wednesday after he allegedly ripped off millions of dollars from a federal COVID-19 relief program that he then spent on a $318,000 Lamborghini Huracán Evo and numerous other luxury items.
South Florida moving business owner David T. Hines, 29, pleaded guilty in February to fraudulently acquiring $3.9 million from the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), a program that grants forgivable loans to assist small businesses cover business-related costs – such as employee salaries – during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A Miami federal judge ordered Hines, who was originally arrested in July 2020, to turn over the Lamborghini and the millions of PPP funds that he had originally received.
Hines had applied to the Bank of America for seven PPP loans; three were eventually granted, for a total of $3.9 million. The first thing Hines did with his ill-gotten gains, officials say, was to purchase the Lamborghini; from there, he went on a luxury spending spree, buying jewelry and clothes and kicking back at high-end Miami Beach hotels such as The Fontainebleau and Setai. He also reportedly purchased memberships with several dating websites.
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Hines first popped up on the authorities’ radar after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident in July 2020 while driving the Lamborghini, and the investigation began rolling from there.
“As part of his guilty plea, Hines admitted that he fraudulently sought millions of dollars in PPP loans through applications to an insured financial institution on behalf of different companies,” the Justice Department (DOJ) said. “Plea documents indicate that in the days and weeks following the disbursement of PPP funds, Hines did not make payroll payments that he claimed on his loan applications. He did, however, use the PPP proceeds for personal expenses.”
Reports say that the PPP program has experienced a great deal of abuse and fraud since it was first implemented via the CARES Act, which the DOJ is now cracking down on; South Florida is recognized as being the nation’s capital of PPP fraud, according to recent reports.