A businessman from Houston, Texas has been taken into custody for fraudulently obtaining more than $1.6 million from coronavirus relief funds and then spending the same on a Lamborghini and strip clubs, authorities said Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Lee Price III, 29, obtained the whooping amount through Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

According to the complaint, Price was allegedly involved in a scheme wherein he submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications to federally insured banks and other lenders. The Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees the loans for COVID-19 relief through the PPP under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The CARES Act is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are currently suffering from the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Price allegedly used the loan proceeds not for payroll expenses, but for lavish personal purchases, such as expending the loan money on a Lamborghini Urus, a Rolex watch, and real estate transactions. He also allegedly spent thousands at strip clubs and other Houston night clubs. The complaint further alleges Price used a portion of the loan money to buy a 2020 Ford F-350 pickup truck," a statement from the Justice Department said.

Price received the money through two companies - Price Enterprises Holdings and 713 Construction.

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

The loan applications allegedly claimed that both the entities each had numerous employees and significant payroll expenses. However, according to the charges against Price, neither entity has employees nor pays wages that matched the amounts claimed in the loan applications.

"The individual listed as CEO on the 713 Construction loan application died in April 2020, a month before the application was submitted," the statement said.

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

He appeared in federal court on Tuesday. His detention hearing was scheduled for Thursday.

If convicted, he could face a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in federal prison and $1 million fine on the bank fraud charge and up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine for the unlawful transactions charge.

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