A man from Houston, Texas was handed more than nine years in prison for fraudulently receiving over $1.6 million in pandemic relief money from the government and blowing it on a life of luxury and leisure.
Lee Price III was sentenced to 110 months in prison on Monday after pleading guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.
According to prosecutors, starting from May 2020, Price had been using fake companies to apply for low-interest loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The money was meant to help small businesses struggling during the pandemic.
In an application submitted to a bank in Boston, Price claimed he owned a company called Price Enterprises with 50 employees and an average monthly payroll of $375,000. In an application to a California lender, he listed a dead man as the chief executive of a different company.
Price used the funds to buy a $233,000 Lamborghini Urus SUV, a $85,000 Ford F-350 pickup truck, and a $14,000 Rolex watch. He blew around $2,000 at a strip club, and spent large sums at liquor stores and nightclubs. The money also was used to pay off a loan on a residential property.
Police recovered around $700,000 of the funds Price received through PPP.
"Mr. Price hopes that others will learn from his reckoning that there is no easy money," Price's lawyer, Tom Berg, said in a statement to the media. "He has the balance of the 110-month sentence to reflect, repent and rebuild his misspent life."