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A Florida man has been charged with bank fraud after lying on loan applications to help small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic and spending the money he received on luxury goods, including a Lamborghini, according to a criminal complaint reviewed by BuzzFeed News.
Federal prosecutors said David Tyler Hines, 29, applied for approximately $13.5 million in funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was established in March to provide small businesses with loans to pay employees during the pandemic. Congress approved $349 billion for the first round of PPP loans in March, and over $300 billion for a second round in April.
Hines claimed the funds were intended to pay employees of his businesses, but US postal inspectors said those employees either didn't exist or earned just a fraction of the pay he claimed.
Despite this, Hines was approved for nearly $4 million in three forgivable, low-interest PPP loans, which he then spent on personal expenses, including clothes, jewelry, Miami beach resorts, dating websites, and a 2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo, which cost more than $318,000, prosecutors said.
Hines claimed on the applications that he was either the manager or president of four separate companies based in Miami, for which he said he employed 70 people with monthly payroll expenses of $4 million, according to the complaint. But investigators said the state of Florida had no record of any wages paid to employees of any of Hines' companies between 2015 and the first quarter of 2020.
The complaint notes that reviews on the Better Business Bureau website were the only online evidence found for Hines' businesses. Reviews for Promaster Movers, Inc. and We-Pack Moving LLC, which both appeared to be brokers for moving services. Both received F ratings from the BBB as well as complaints of "bait-and-switch practices" and "deceitful activities," the complaint said.
The complaint stated that Hines "never had the payroll obligations he claimed to have," and that upon receiving PPP payments in a bank account affiliated with his businesses, he "immediately diverted loan proceeds for unauthorized uses."
Hines' largest expenses in May and June included nearly $5,000 spent at Saks Fifth Avenue, $8,530 at a jewelry store, more than $11,000 at several Miami hotels, and a total of $30,000 going to a recipient that prosecutors labeled "Mom."
"There does not appear to be any business purpose for more, if not all, of these expenses," the complaint read.
Hines' attorney, Chad Piotrowski, did not immediately return BuzzFeed News' request for comment, but told CNN his client "is a legitimate business owner" who has "suffered financially during the pandemic."
"While the allegations appear very serious, especially in light of the pandemic, David is anxious to tell his side of the story when the time comes," Piotrowski added.
Hines is facing charges of bank fraud, making a false statement to a lending union, and engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds. The first two charges each carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and up to a $1,000,000 fine if convicted.
Last week, Hines was filmed by WSVN-TV in Miami being cited by police for not wearing a face mask in public, for which he received a $100 ticket.
While being ticketed, he complained to the station about the distribution of PPP loans.
“Every single business has gone out of business," he said. "The government, the Treasury — they gave $2 trillion for PPP loans for small businesses. Eighty-five percent went to major corporations."
Hines was previously arrested in 2018 after reporting that his girlfriend had stolen his Lamborghini, according to NBC Miami.