Texas man jailed after splashing US$1.6 mil virus aid on sports car, strip clubs

Lee Price III spent US$200,000 on a Lamborghini Urus. (AFP pic)

WASHINGTON: Instead of speeding off in a US$200,000 Lamborghini Urus, a Texas man got a slower ride to jail Tuesday after US authorities arrested him for using US$1.6 million in government pandemic aid to go on a spending spree.

Lee Price III, 29, was charged with fraud after he secured two government loans under the Paycheck Protection Program to pay employees he did not have, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Instead he spent the funds on lavish goods like a sports car and a Rolex watch, as well as real estate, an F-350 pickup truck, and thousands of dollars at Houston strip clubs, the statement said.

Price secured two loans: Price Enterprises Holdings allegedly received more than US$900,000, while 713 Construction was approved for over US$700,000, but neither has employees and “the individual listed as CEO on the 713 Construction loan application died in April 2020, a month before the application was submitted”, according to the complaint.

Congress approved the PPP programme in late March to help small businesses survive the coronavirus pandemic, granting loans that could be forgiven if they were used to pay wages, rent and utilities.