HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston businessman was sentenced to nine years in prison for a scheme in which he obtained and laundered more than $1.6 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, 30-year-old Lee Price III, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges, submitted fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications to banks and other lenders on behalf of three entities: 713 Construction LLC, Price Enterprises Holdings LLC, and Price Logistic Services LLC.
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Through the applications, Price sought over $2.6 million and obtained $1.6 million.
The applications allegedly stated each entity had numerous employees and significant payroll expenses. In addition, Price put down the name of a person who died shortly before the application was submitted.
After receiving the money, Price used the money on a Lamborghini Urus, a Ford F-350 truck, a Rolex watch, and to pay off a loan on a residential property. He also spent thousands at strip clubs and other Houston nightclubs.
Price was arrested and charged with making false statements to a financial institution, wire fraud, bank fraud and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions. He pleaded guilty in September to wire fraud and money laundering charges.
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.