Business Owner Uses COVID-19 Relief Funds to Buy $318K Lamborghini: DOJ

July 29, 2020 Updated: July 29, 2020

A Florida man used CARES Act funds to purchase a $318,000 Lamborghini and other luxury items, said the Department of Justice (DOJ) this week.

David Hines, 29, sought $13.5 million in Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans that were designed to help small businesses cover overhead expenses and payroll through the COVID-19 pandemic. Hines is accused of securing loans “through applications to an insured financial institution on behalf of different companies” and falsifying applications by making misleading and false claims about payroll expenses, said the agency.

Hines is accused of receiving $3.9 million in PPP loans before spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a 2020 Lamborghini Huracan. The sports car was registered in his name and in the name of one of his businesses, federal authorities said.

“In the days and weeks following the disbursement of PPP funds, the complaint alleges that Hines did not make payroll payments that he claimed on his loan applications. He did, however, make purchases at luxury retailers and resorts in Miami Beach,” the DOJ statement said.

The CARES Act was enacted in late March in an attempt to offset potential economic losses suffered in the midst of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic. In April, the program authorized about $300 million in additional funding through a bipartisan measure.

“The PPP allows qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of one percent. Businesses must use PPP loan proceeds for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. The PPP allows the interest and principal to be forgiven if businesses spend the proceeds on these expenses within a set time period and use at least a certain percentage of the loan towards payroll expenses,” according to the DOJ.

Local station WSNV, citing law enforcement, reported that Hines also made thousands of dollars in purchases at luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue, about $4,000 at the Fontainebleau Hotel, and $7,264 at the Setai Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida.

Hines was arrested on Monday and is accused of bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution, and engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds. He has since posted bond.

Officials also said Hines received a $100 fine for not wearing a mask in public in Miami. While he was being fined, Hines is accused of making statements about PPP loans.

“Every single business has gone out of business. The government, the Treasury, they gave $2 trillion for PPP loans for small businesses. Eighty-five percent went to major corporations,” he said, according to the station.