A Florida man has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in coronavirus relief funds.
According to the Department of Justice, 29-year-old Miami resident David Tyler Hines is accused of falsifying federal applications to secure $3.9 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans, which were intended to help small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic. He allegedly requested $13.5 million in paycheck protection for various companies, stating the money would ensure his employees would continue to get paid throughout the state-mandated lockdowns.
“Those purported employees either did not exist or earned a fraction of what Hines claimed in his PPP applications,” according to the federal complaint obtained by NBC News. “Collectively, Hines falsely claimed his companies paid millions of dollars in payroll the first quarter of 2020. State and bank records, however, show little to no payroll expense during this period.”
Federal agents say the man used the relief funds to make extravagant personal purchases, including jewelry, resort stays, and a $318,000 Lamborghini Huracan. HuffPost reports authorities became aware of the scam after the 2020 Lambo was involved in a hit-and-run incident last summer. The vehicle was ultimately linked back to Hines, which kick-started the investigation.
Hines pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with the scheme in February.
As part of the sentencing, the man was ordered to forfeit the $3.4 million in fraudulent loan proceeds as well as the Lamborghini.
According to the HuffPost, the DOJ has charged hundreds of people in similar PPP fraud cases. Earlier this month the department confirmed 38-year-old Mustafa Qadiri had been charged with fraudulently obtaining $5 million in coronavirus relief loan, and using a portion of that money to buy a 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia, a 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S, and a Bentley Continental GT.