Man accused of stealing $1.6 million in CARES Act money to buy cars and take trips

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston businessman is accused of spending $1.6 million in CARES Act money on real estate, luxury vehicles and even trips to strip clubs.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Lee Price III, 29, submitted fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications to banks and other lenders.

Price Enterprises Holdings allegedly received more than $900,000, while a loan application listing 713 Construction was approved for more than $700,000.

The applications allegedly stated both entities each had numerous employees and significant payroll expenses.

The U.S. Attorney's office said Price used the money to buy a Lamborghini Urus, a Rolex watch and several real estate transactions.

He also allegedly spent thousands at strip clubs and other Houston night clubs, and bought a 2020 Ford F-350 pickup truck.

Price was arrested and charged with making false statements to a financial institution, wire fraud, bank fraud and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.

He made his first court appearance on Tuesday.

The CARES Act was enacted in March to provide emergency financial assistance for Americans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress authorized more than $300 billion in additional PPP funding.

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