bdmetronews Desk ॥ One of the first things David T. Hines bought when he got $4 million in COVID-19 relief loans for his supposedly ailing moving business was a $318,000 Lamborghini, authorities say.
Needless to say, the Italian-made sports car — purchased by Hines in May for $318,497 — was not on the list of permissible expenses under a Small Business Administration loan program meant to protect employees and cover other legitimate costs like rent during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hines, who was arrested Friday, also spent thousands of dollars on dating websites, jewelry and clothes, along with stays at high-end hotels such as the Fontainebleau and Setai on Miami Beach.
The SBA’s Payroll Protection Program totaling nearly $650 billion was approved by Congress as part of the CARES Act after the coronavirus struck the nation in March, but Hines’ and other similar fraud cases are starting to pop up in South Florida and other parts of the country. The PPP loans are forgiven by thegovernment if they are properly used by businesses. Congress is considering another major SBA loan infusion as the raging pandemic continues to hurt the U.S. economy.
Federal investigators linked the Lamborghini to Hines, who appeared in Miami federal court on fraud and other charges Monday, after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident on July 11. Miami police impounded his car, and now prosecutors plan to seize it.
Hines, 29, held over the weekend at the Federal Detention Center, was granted a $100,000 bond by Magistrate Judge John O’Sullivan and will be allowed to stay at his mother’s home with a GPS monitor. His defense attorney, Chad Piotrowski, declined to comment after Monday’s hearing. Hines’ arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 14.
According to a criminal complaint, Hines’ four South Florida moving businesses applied for seven SBA loans totaling $13.5 million through the Bank of America, saying the money would be spent on at least 70 employees with a monthly payroll of $4 million. The bank approved three of his applications, totaling $3,984,557.