A man in Miami, Florida, has been charged with bank fraud for allegedly lying on PPP loan applications and spending the money on luxury items such as a Lamborghini Huracán EVO, federal authorities say.Funds from the $521 billion Paycheck Protection Program are destined for small businesses so that they’re able to keep workers on payroll throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
David Tyler Hines – The man behind the scam
David Tyler Hines, 29, not only filed fraudulent PPP applications, but also spent the money on a $318,497.53 Lamborghini Huracán EVO and other “luxury and personal items,” including nearly $5,000 at Saks Fifth Ave, more than $11,000 at two Miami-area hotels and a $8,530 purchase at Graff Diamonds, investigators say.
Hines was among millions of business owners who sought government help when the novel coronavirus upended the U.S. economy. The Cares Act, the $2 trillion coronavirus bill signed into law in late March, included $349 billion in forgivable loans for small businesses to maintain operating expenses, such as payroll. Congress added an additional $310 billion in funding in April.
“There does not appear to be any business purpose for most, if not all, of these expenses,” the criminal complaint reads.
A photo of a blue Lamborghini was obtained through a law enforcement source, which they say is the one Hines’ purchased. Bank records obtained by US Postal investigators show Hines got almost $4 million in taxpayer dollars through three low-interest, forgivable PPP loans. He had initially requested $13.5 million in seven PPP loan applications, claiming his four companies needed the funds to continue paying employees.
“There does not appear to be any business purpose for more, if not all, of these expenses,” the complaint read.
Allegations and response by Hines
Hines’ attorney, Chad Piotrowski, did not immediately return BuzzFeed News’ request for comment, his client “is a legitimate business owner” who has “suffered financially during the pandemic.” (source: Buzzfeed and CNN)
“While the allegations appear very serious, especially in light of the pandemic, David is anxious to tell his side of the story when the time comes,” Piotrowski added.
Hines is facing charges of bank fraud, making a false statement to a lending union, and engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds. The first two charges each carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and up to a $1,000,000 fine if convicted.
Last week, Hines was filmed by WSVN-TV in Miami being cited by police for not wearing a face mask in public, for which he received a $100 ticket.
While being ticketed, he complained to the station about the distribution of PPP loans.
“Every single business has gone out of business,” he said. “The government, the Treasury — they gave $2 trillion for PPP loans for small businesses. Eighty-five percent went to major corporations.”
Hines was previously arrested in 2018 after reporting that his girlfriend had stolen his Lamborghini, according to NBC Miami.
“David is a legitimate business owner who, like millions of Americans, suffered financially during the pandemic,” Hines attorney Chad Piotrowski told to CNN in a statement.
“While the allegations appear very serious, especially in light of the pandemic, David is anxious to tell his side of the story when the time comes.
“If found guilty, Hines faces up to a $1,000,000 fine and up to 30 years prison for bank fraud; up to a $1,000,000 fine and up to 30 years prison for false statement to a lending institution; and a prison sentence of up to ten years for engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds.
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