Houston resident Lee Price III is facing decades behind bars after receiving $1.6 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan funds using fraudulent applications.
Court documents claim 29-year-old Price submitted PPP loan applications for two businesses, 713 Construction LLC and Price Enterprises Holdings LLC, according to KPRC. The application for the construction company was submitted under the name of someone who died in April 2020, a month before he applied. He reportedly lied about the number of people he employs and his payroll expenses.
The PPP loan program was created to help small business owners maintain payroll, utilities and other expenses related to doing business. According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Price received $1.6 million from the program and opted to spend money on personal purchases.
He bought a $233,000 Lamborghini Urus and spent $85,000 on a 2020 Ford F-350 pickup truck with the PPP loan funds. Price also blew money in stripper joints and nightclubs. Additionally, he purchased a $14,000 Rolex watch and leased office space for $100,000 in Memorial City.
The DOJ was able to recover $700,000 of the deposited funds from Price. He was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions following his arrest in August.
On Monday, he pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering. If convicted, Price faces 20 years in prison, each for the fraud count and ten years for each count of money laundering. Price will be sentenced on November 29.
KHOU reports Price has an extensive criminal history that dates to his teenage years. Prior offenses include driving under the influence, robbery and forgery. He is currently facing charges in Harris County, Texas, for felony tampering with a government record.