HOUSTON — A Houston man is in big trouble with the feds who say he spent $1.6 million in COVID-19 relief funds on a $200,000 luxury vehicle, a fancy truck and other items.
Lee Price III, 29, was arrested on charges of making false statements to a financial institution, wire fraud, bank fraud and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.
U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick said Price cooked up a scheme to submit fraudulent applications for the Paycheck Protection Program loans.
The loans were intended to help businesses continue to pay employees during the pandemic.
Instead, Price bought a Lamborghini Uras, a Ford-350 pickup, real estate, a Rolex and other luxury items, according to Patrick.
He also allegedly spent thousands at strip clubs and other Houston night clubs.
One of the applications for 713 Construction listed a CEO who died a month before it was submitted.
Price got $700,000 for that one and another $900,000 for another company. Neither company has employees, according to the charges.
Price has a long rap sheet in Houston dating back to 2007 when he was a teenager.
The CARES Act was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some people and businesses who had legit needs for the money have complained they never received it.