COVID relief allegedly used for luxury buying spree
Man was arrested once before for Lambo-related crimes
A Florida man was arrested yesterday because U.S. federal officials say he used COVID payroll relief loan funds to relive himself with a new Lamborghini.
The complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice accuses David T. Hines of Miami with fraudulently obtaining $3.9 million (CAD 5.2m) in Paycheck Protection Program loans. That program, similar to the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy, was designed to give business money to keep workers employed during the COVID related downturn, here in the form of forgivable loans. They were intended to be used for employee wages and salaries, otherwise, they would not be forgiven, though the funds could be used on some non-payroll expenses.
Those non-payroll expenses were evidently nos intended to include exotic cars, like the $318,000 (CAD 426,000) 2020 Lamborghini Huracan Hines allegedly purchased just days after receiving the funds. The DOJ says that Hines made more purchases at luxury retailers and resorts, but did not make his claimed payroll payments for the multiple companies for which he had applied for the loans.
Hines was looking for a total of $13.5 million (CAD 18.1m) in loans, and the DOJ says his applications were fraudulent and misleading. He’s been charged with one count of bank fraud, one of making false statements to a financial institution and one count of engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds. Hines was set to appear in front of a judge in Miami Federal Court yesterday following his arrest.
This isn’t Hines’ first time in handcuffs related to a Lamborghini. In 2018, he was arrested for battery and resisting arrest after reporting his then-girlfriend had stolen a different Lambo.
So if you’re thinking the government’s not paying attention to where the money’s going right now, you might want to think again. Or at least not start spending it on flash cars and luxury goods instead of keeping your staff fed. The allegations against Hines have yet to be proven in court.