A Miami man was arrested and charged for allegedly lying on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications and obtaining $3.9 million, which he used to purchase luxury items, including a Lamborghini Huracán EVO.
David Tyler Hines, 29, of Miami was charged with one count of bank fraud, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, and one count of engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds. It is unclear if he has acquired legal representation.
According to the complaint, the accused allegedly sought over $13 million in PPP loans from a financial institution on behalf of four of his companies, claiming he needed the money to continue to pay employees. He is accused of making several fraudulent statements about those companies’ payroll expenses in his applications. In total, approximately $3.9 million was approved and funded by the financial institution.
“Hines sought approximately $13.5 million in PPP funds, purportedly for the purpose of paying employees. Those purported employees either did not exist or earned a fraction of what Hines claimed in his PPP applications,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Bryan Masmela in the affidavit. “Collectively, Hines the accused claimed his companies paid millions of dollars in payroll in the first quarter of 2020. State and bank records, however, show little to no payroll expense during this period.”
On May 18, he purportedly used the PPP funds he received to purchase a 2020 Lamborghini Huracán sports car for $318,000, which he registered jointly under both his name and the name of one of the companies that received a loan. Throughout May and June, he additionally bought other “luxury and personal items,” including an $8,530 jewelry purchase at Graff Diamonds, $11,000 in expenses at two luxury hotels in Miami Beach, and almost $5,000 in items bought at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Bank records reportedly show that in the days after the disbursement of the loans, he never used any of the money for the payroll payments he had allegedly claimed in his loan applications.
PPP loans are meant to be used by qualifying small businesses to keep workers on payroll throughout the coronavirus pandemic, as well as pay for rent, utilities, and interest on mortgages. The loans have a maturity of two years and an interest rate of one percent. The funds were approved by Congress through the enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020. Through the CARES Act, Congress authorized over $600 billion in forgivable loans for small businesses and other organizations.
The defendant is among millions of American business owners who sought help from the federal government when the coronavirus pandemic upended the economy. His arrest is the latest case of alleged fraud involving the relief program.
Any individual suspected of committing fraud involving the federal government’s COVID-19 relief program should immediately consult an experienced attorney who can conduct an independent investigation and form a good defense.
South Florida Fraud Defense Attorney