Florida man bought Lamborghini with the help of coronavirus, US says

A Florida man who received nearly $ 4 million in federal loans intended to help struggling businesses, and spent money on a new Lamborghini Huracán sports car and other fraudulent purchases, was arrested and charged with three serious crimes, they said Monday. officials.

David T. Hines, 29, of Miami, was charged with bank fraud, making a false statement to a credit institution and engaging in illegal profit transactions, according to prosecutors in the United States District Court for the Southern District from Florida. If convicted of all charges, he could face up to 70 years in prison, a prosecution official said.

In April, Mr. Hines joined other business owners seeking financial help from the Federal Paycheck Protection Program, a loan program created to help companies keep their employees during the coronavirus pandemic.

In his requests, Mr. Hines said he operated four businesses with 70 employees and had $ 4 million in monthly expenses.

Credit…Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections

The following month, Mr. Hines began receiving money from the loan program. He received three payments totaling $ 3,984,557, according to authorities. When that money came, Mr. Hines continued to submit requests for more funds. Eventually, his requests totaled $ 13,542,741, authorities said.

What came next, based on a review of Mr. Hines’ financial records, was a wave of spending that included luxury jewelry, expensive clothing, visits to Miami Beach resorts, and spending on dating websites, authorities said. .

“There appears to be no business purpose for most, if not all, of these expenses,” wrote Bryan Masmela, a US postal inspector, in an affidavit describing more than a dozen of Mr. Hines’ payments. from May to June.

Mr. Hines’ attorney, Chad Piotrowski, said in a statement that his client was “a legitimate business owner who, like millions of Americans, suffered financially during the pandemic” and “is eager to tell his side of the story when he arrives the moment. “

Phone messages she left with Mr. Hines were not immediately returned as of Monday night.

Mr. Hines made two payments in May totaling $ 30,000 to a person listed as “Mom,” authorities said. The same month, he paid more than $ 4,000 to Saks Fifth Avenue. In June, Mr. Hines paid more than $ 7,000 to the Setai Hotel in Miami Beach, and $ 8,500 to the jewelry company Graff.

The largest purchase appears to have been made on May 18, when Hines purchased a blue Lamborghini for $ 318,497 in North Miami Beach, authorities said. He registered the vehicle under his name and that of one of his businesses.

Monthly expenses for Mr. Hines’ companies averaged about $ 200,000, well below what he claimed on his federal loan applications, the postal inspector said.

In fact, there were no records that the companies of Mr. Hines, Unified Relocation Solutions LLC, Promaster Movers Inc., Cash In Holdings LLC, and We-Pack Moving LLC, had “any operational websites,” according to the inspector’s affidavit. Postcard.

Two of his businesses had a history of complaints.

On the Better Business Bureau website, clients complained that two of Mr. Hines’ businesses carried out “bait-and-switch practices and other misleading activities,” according to the affidavit. “Both companies are F-rated companies on the site.”

Sheelagh McNeill contributed to the investigation.