- The Washington Times - Monday, July 27, 2020

A Florida man allegedly scammed the federal program to help small businesses during the coronavirus crisis and then blew the funds on dating websites, luxury jewelry and a Lamborghini, according to court documents filed Monday.

David T. Hines, 29, of Miami, is accused of fraudulently obtaining $3.9 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), federal prosecutors said.

Mr. Hines is charged with bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and engaging in transactions with unlawful proceeds.

Mr. Hines sought roughly $13.5 million in PPP loans through applications on behalf of six companies he purportedly owned, according to a criminal complaint filed in Miami.

Ultimately, only three banks provided loans, totaling $3.9 million.



He told the banks his businesses have at least 70 employees and a combined payroll of roughly $4 million, according to the criminal complaint. But prosecutors say the Florida Department of Revenue had no record of wages paid to any of the companies from 2015 through the first quarter of 2020.

Although Mr. Hines said he would use the funds to retain workers, maintain payroll and meet other business expenses, prosecutors allege he went on a luxury shopping spree.

Hines allegedly used the PPP loans to purchase a 2020 Lamborghini Huracan for $318,497, according to the criminal complaint.

He also is accused of spending $4,622 at Saks Fifth Ave, $4,000 at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami and $8,530 at a local diamond store.

“Hines never had the payroll obligation that he claimed to have and immediately diverted loan proceeds for unauthorized uses,” prosecutors wrote.

The PPP is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief Economic Security (CARES) Act, part of the trillion-dollar stimulus package aimed at alleviating the financial hardship because of the pandemic.

PPP funds are used by businesses to cover payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent or other expenses. The loans can be forgiven if a percentage is used toward payroll.

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