A businessman who used a US government loan for COVID-19 to buy a Lamborghini was sentenced to six years in prison.
David T. Hines was arrested in July 2020 when it was discovered that he had embezzled millions of dollars from the federal aid program for businesses affected by the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. The man pleaded guilty to the crime.
A Miami businessman has pleaded guilty to having used millions of dollars in federal stimulus programs awarded to businesses to face the financial consequences of the pandemic on luxury items, including an expensive car.
David T. Hines, 29, was arrested last July in 2020 when it was discovered that he had embezzled millions of dollars from the federal aid program for businesses affected by the economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 closures.
Hines owns a moving company in South Florida and at one time received seven loans through Bank of America through the US federal government's small business assistance program. This program, known as PPP (Salary Protection Program, for its acronym), was designed to help merchants keep their operations open, paying for necessary expenses such as rent or employee salaries. Although they are loans, if it was shown that they had been well used at the end of the year, the person had no obligation to return the funds.
In total, the government gave $ 650 billion to this program, of which Hines managed to raise $ 3.9 million for himself.
Instead of investing the money in his company, Hines spent it on services provided by dating websites, jewelry, designer clothing, luxury hotel stays in Miami Beach, and a Lamborghini Huracán Evo, which costs $ 380,000.
Last July, Hines was involved in a car accident and fled the scene before police arrived. There he began an investigation that linked him to the expensive Lamborghini. Prosecutors noticed irregularities in his case and opened an investigation into the origin of the money.
As part of his appeal to the judge, Hines admitted that he had obtained millions of dollars from the PPP program through forgery.
He used various fake companies to make requests to the federal government, many of which were approved (…). Hines's financial history indicates that he never used the PPP money to pay salaries, as he had stated he would, but for personal expenses ", indicate the court documents.
Federal justice intervened in the case and forced him to return $ 3.4 million and the Lamborghini. In addition, he has just been sentenced to more than six years in prison for fraud.
Hines's, however, is not an isolated case. The Justice Department has already prosecuted more than 100 people in 60 different criminal cases in this region, identifying at least $ 60 million fraudulently used from the PPP program.
In a recent press conference, national authorities from the Department of Justice indicated that South Florida is the national capital of fraud of this type.
In Broward County, an accountant who had made federal loan claims for various bogus companies worth $ 28 million for the PPP program was convicted.